According to blockchain analytics company Elliptic, more than $10 million worth of cryptocurrencies has been donated to the Ukrainian government following an attack on the country by Russia. On Saturday, the Ukrainian government’s posted addresses for crypto wallets via its official Twitter account for people to make donations to. One address accepts Bitcoin while the other Ether. The country has turned to this crowdfunding option following the ban on electronic transfers and other conventional options. Besides, the country recently passed a bill that legalizes cryptocurrency.
Per Elliptic, the wallets posted on the Ukrainian government’s official Twitter page had amassed $10.2 million worth of cryptocurrency as of Sunday. This amount is completely different from what was raised by non-governmental organizations for the country’s military.
Within the space of 12 hours of the attack on Ukraine by Russia, non-governmental organization Come Back Alive received crypto donations worth $400,000. These donations have been channelled into different purposes all aimed at supporting the military – used to funds to provide military equipment, medical supplies and military drones, and also to fund a project developing a facial recognition app to identify the nationality of a person, as well as if they’re a spy or Russian mercenary. Another group, The Ukrainian Cyber Alliance received donations in Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and others worth almost $100,000 within the same period. Twenty-four hours later, these donations had grown to about $4 million.
The blockchain analytic firm revealed that about $1.86 million of the money the government received was generated from the sale of an NFT originally intended to raise funds for Julian Assange – the founder of WikiLeaks. “NFT” stands for Non-fungible Tokens. It is a digital token that’s a type of cryptocurrency, much like Bitcoin or Ethereum, and this means that it is a collectable digital asset, which holds value as a form of cryptocurrency and as a form of art or culture.
NFTs are unique because they are non-fungible. A fungible asset is something with units that can be readily interchanged – like money.
In total, the amount of crypto donations received by both the Ukrainian government and NGOs providing support for the country’s military stands at $16.7 million, Elliptic says.
On Sunday, Elliptic’s Chief Scientist – Tom Robinson, wrote in a blog post that “Cryptoassets such as Bitcoin have emerged as an important alternative crowdfunding method. They allow quick, cross-border donations, which bypass financial institutions that might be blocking payments to these groups”.
On Sunday also, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation also called on crypto exchange platforms’ support, asking them to block payments to users in Russia. “It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians but also to sabotage ordinary users”, his tweet read.
Subsequent tweets requested that Russia be blocked from social media platforms, other countries should block association with the country etc. In a tweet he tagged Meta and its subsidiary apps, he said that “Mark Zuckerberg, while you create Metaverse — Russia ruins real life in Ukraine! We ask you to ban access to @facebookapp and @instagram from Russia — as long as tanks and missiles attack our kindergartens and hospitals! @Meta”.