Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the latter has been raising funds through cryptocurrency channels to aid its’ armed forces. In addition to this source of fund-raising, the Ukrainian military has also been receiving aid from NGOs that support the military. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic said that the Ukrainian government has collectively raised more than USD 10 million in cryptocurrency donations from around the world.
Ukraine relies on Crypto, Starlink
This development underlines how the Ukrainian government is turning to alternative sources to raise funds in their war against Russia. The Ukrainian government hopes that this unique crowd-funding method will help it get through the brutal offensive from Russia.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian government listed two addresses for cryptocurrency wallets (one that accepts Bitcoin, and the other which accepts Ether). By Sunday, these two wallets had accepted more than USD 10 million worth of cryptocurrency donations, in a report by Elliptic. This figure does not include millions of dollars’ worth of digital currency donations to NGO’s that support the Ukraine military.
Close to USD 2 million was raised through the NFT sale originally meant to raise funds to defend Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s legal battle.
This is Ukraine’s first attempts to raise funds through digital currency to help it fight a war that began on Thursday last week. One of the NGO’s supporting the Ukrainian military – Come Back Alive – has been accepting crypto donations since 2018, and has raised millions of dollars for the military since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.
Totally, the Ukrainian government has accepted digital donations amounting to more than USD 16.7 dollars, in order to help the fight against the Russians.
Tom Robinson, Chief Scientist at Elliptic stated on a blog that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have recently emerged as an alternative crowdfunding mechanism. In his post, Mr. Robinson said that cryptos allow fast cross-border donations, which would ordinarily have been blocked by Western financial institutions during the war.
However, in a notable development, the Patreon fund-raising page of Come Back Alive was suspended last week, with a statement of the company conveying that it does not support campaigns involved in the purchase of military equipment.
The government appears to have relaxed its initial stance on the non-acceptance of digital currency donations.
Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov called on major cryptocurrency exchanges to block payments to Russian users after last week’s invasion by Russia.
The U.S., Canada, and European allies agreed to remove certain Russian banks from Swift, the interbank messaging system, last Saturday. They also agreed not to permit the Russian Central bank from liquidating any assets or reserves that would subvert the effect of sanctions in any way.
In an additional boost to disrupted internet service supply in Ukraine, the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX, which owns Starlink, said that the Internet service was available in Ukraine, and will be sending more terminals shortly.
NetBlocks, and Internet monitoring group stated on Thursday that they had observed widespread disruptions across Ukraine, including Kyiv.
Internet disruptions have been reported across the conflict-hit nation with Russian troops advancing and missiles hitting key infrastructure that powered the Internet in the region.
The Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine, in a tweet to Elon Musk on Saturday, asked if he would provide more of his company’s Starlink stations to the war-hit country.
Late on Saturday, Musk replied, saying that the Starlink service is now active in Ukraine, and more terminals would be en route to Ukraine.
One of Starlinks’ objectives is to provide faster Internet across the world, using satellites that it has put in orbit, along with ground stations. Users will be able to connect to the Internet via a satellite dish on their property, to which SpaceX satellites will beam down and uplink data.