Ukraine Is Using Bitcoin to Fund Its War Against Russia
Elliptic’s latest research outlines how non-governmental organisations and volunteer groups are utilising cryptocurrency to finance activities against Russia.
As tensions along Ukraine’s border continue to grow, Ukrainian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are experiencing a significant increase in Bitcoin contributions, according to a recent analysis from blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.
These are not charities dedicated to alleviating poverty or promoting social justice. We’re discussing pro-Ukrainian hacktivists and military groups.
Russia has gathered between 100,000 and 130,000 soldiers on its borders with Ukraine and Belarus in preparation for an invasion. The US, a close friend of Ukraine, has sent 3,000 soldiers to the area, with an additional 8,500 on heightened alert.
According to the research, local NGOs began gaining financial backing for troops, weaponry, and medical supplies during the previous decade in reaction to government corruption. According to Elliptic, contributors are utilising Bitcoin to make donations to such NGOs, circumventing any banks or financial institutions that may reject payments.
“Elliptic found many bitcoin wallets used by these volunteer groups and non-governmental organisations, which combined collected little over $570,000 — the majority of it over the last year,” the paper adds.
Elliptic lists Come Back Alive as one of the organisations collecting Bitcoin contributions. The organisation offers training, military, and medical equipment. Another is the Myrotvorets Center, which has links to the Ukrainian government.
Additionally, the hacktivist organisations Ukrainian Cyber Alliance and Belarusian Cyber-Partisans have conducted cyberattacks against Russian sites. Elliptic reports that the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has received close to $100,000 in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and stable coins during the past year.
Ukraine did not invent the concept. Elliptic reports that the organisations are borrowing the concept from pro-Russian organisations, who started utilising Bitcoin fundraising in 2014.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, account for a very modest part of the money pouring into Ukraine. The majority of money is in fiat currencies and are transferred using regular payment mechanisms.