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Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian volunteer groups and non-governmental organizations received a record amount of funding via Bitcoin donations last year.
  • Most of these organizations are organized to defend against possible invasion by Russian forces.
  • Bitcoin donations to Ukrainian such interests were up by over 900% in 2021.

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Ukrainian volunteer groups organized to defend the nation against Russian invasion received a 900% increase in Bitcoin donations in 2021, according to a report today.

Defense Funding by Crypto

Ukrainian defense efforts received a boost of Bitcoin donations in 2021, per a report by blockchain forensics company Elliptic.

More than $500,000 worth of Bitcoin was used to crowdfund non-government organizations and volunteer groups in 2021. This amount represented a 900% increase in Bitcoin donations over 2020. 

Many of these “volunteer groups,” who are in effect citizen soldiers, have stepped in to supplement the Ukrainian military in the wake of its effective crumbling against the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. They are largely funded by private donors.

Though the Elliptic report noted that cryptocurrencies still only accounted for a small portion of the funds allocated in fundraising campaigns, it is an increasingly common method of funding. Elliptic also emphasized digital currencies’ strengths with respect to cross-border payments, providing for “easier access to wealthy overseas donors.” 

Private donors who typically use bank wires and payment apps to support their choice of causes have increasingly turned to Bitcoin to get around the potential of their payments being denied. Additionally, accounts associated with various fundraising campaigns have been closed before by financial institutions. 

Elliptic specified various examples of Ukrainian organizations that had received funds. One such organization is Come Back Alive, which received nearly $200,000 in the latter half of last year. The organization predominantly provides support to the Ukrainian army.

Another group, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, is solely funded via cryptocurrencies. It has received almost $100,000 in the past year via Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and stablecoins. Ukrainian Cyber Alliance primarily carries out cyber operations against Russia. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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