Ukraine has legalised cryptocurrencies amid rising tensions with Russia even after many central bank officials and IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva expressed their reservations over the penetration of unbacked virtual currencies. The Ukrainian Parliament passed the Law of Ukraine on Virtual Assets with 272 votes, making cryptocurrencies easier to use.

Also Read | In Ukraine’s volatile east, a day of shelling, outages, fear

Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted, “Ukraine is already in top-5 countries on cryptocurrency usage. Today we made one more step forward: Parliament adopted the law on virtual assets! This will legalize crypto exchanges and cryptocurrencies, and Ukrainians could protect their assets from possible abuse or fraud”.

Also Read | Allies watch for Kremlin attempt to justify Russia’s Ukraine invasion

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has disturbed the global stock markets in the past week amid fears of war, with more than 100,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.

According to a report released by blockchain researcher Elliptic, Bitcoin donations have soared to Ukrainian volunteer and hacking groups, which support government forces, as fears of an attack by Russian troops rise. Moscow denies planning an attack.

Also Read | UK intelligence claims Russia could invade Ukraine without further warning

The report shows that in 2021 such groups received cryptocurrencies worth more than $550,000. Donors are paying through Bitcoin to such NGOs, bypassing banks and financial institutions that might block funds.

The Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, Myrotvorets Centre and Come Back Alive are three groups that are supporting the Ukrainian government amid the crisis and are among those who have helped the army and government by crowdfunding sponsored by Bitcoins.

Also Read | Ukraine crisis: Blinken urges Russia to ‘abandon path of war’ at UNSC

Cryptocurrencies can be sent and received anonymously, which allows organizations to raise funds even if financial firms do not allow or impose restrictions on transfers of funds.

Elliptic said cryptocurrency has proved to be a robust and growing alternative to traditional currency especially when it comes to donations from other countries.

Also Read | Russia could be cut off from markets, tech goods: EU chief Ursula von der Leyen

According to Ukrainian National Bar Association, the Ukraine government tightened checks to prevent money laundering, demanding ID verification for some domestic cash transfers. Cross-border transfers are also subject to compulsory monitoring.