More On: Ukrainie
Ukraine's government has gathered more than $10 million in bitcoin donations, relying on an unusual crowdfunding strategy to help it survive Russia's violent invasion.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian government's official Twitter account revealed addresses for two crypto wallets, one accepting only bitcoin and the other ether and tether, a currency that monitors the value of the US dollar.
According to Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, those wallets had received $10.2 million in cryptocurrency as of Sunday. This is in addition to the millions of dollars in digital currency contributed to nongovernmental organizations that support the Ukrainian military.
According to Elliptic, almost $1.86 million of the money contributed to Ukraine's government came from the sale of a non-fungible token, or NFT, which was originally intended to collect donations for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets used to symbolize ownership of virtual goods like artwork or video game characters.
The development highlights how Ukraine is looking to bitcoin for assistance during Russia's military offensive, which started on Thursday.
Come Back Alive, an NGO that provides military supplies to Ukraine, has accepted cryptocurrency donations since 2018. Since the beginning of Russia's invasion, it has raised millions of dollars in digital currency.
Elliptic reports that cumulative crypto donations to the Ukrainian government and military-supporting NGOs currently stand at $16.7 million.
"Cryptoassets such as Bitcoin have emerged as a crucial alternative crowdfunding technique," Elliptic's chief scientist, Tom Robinson, wrote on Sunday in a blog post. "They allow for quick, cross-border donations while circumventing financial institutions that may prohibit monies from going to these organizations."
This Monday, Come Back Alive's Patreon fundraising page was suspended, with the website stating that it "does not accept any campaigns involving violence or the purchase of military weaponry." Patreon allows users to earn money on a monthly basis through paid memberships.
The Ukrainian military previously stated that it could not take funds in digital currencies such as bitcoin, stating on the government's website that "national legislation does not allow the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine to use alternative payment systems ('Webmoney,' 'Bitcoin,' PayPal,′ etc.)."
However, the government appears to have softened its stance.
Separately, Ukraine's Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, called on major cryptocurrency exchanges to halt payments to Russian customers on Sunday.
I'm asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
It's crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.
"It's crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users," Fedorov tweeted.
On Saturday, the United States, its European allies, and Canada agreed to suspend select Russian banks from Swift, the interbank messaging system. They also agreed to prevent Russia's central bank from using its international reserves in ways that could jeopardize sanctions.
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