Cryptocurrency donations to groups backing Ukraine are soaring as threat of war with Russia looms, says crypto analytics firm

Cryptocurrency donations to groups backing Ukraine are soaring as threat of war with Russia looms, says crypto analytics firm
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty Images
  • Thousands of dollars in crypto donations are pouring into groups supporting Ukraine as a war with Russia brews, said a report by Elliptic.
  • The crypto analytics firm said more than $570,00 in cryptoasset funding has been sent to groups backing Ukraine.

Cryptocurrency donations to groups supporting Ukraine have jumped as Russia amasses thousands of troops on its border, with crypto analytics firm Elliptic saying in a report that funding has reached several hundred thousand dollars.

Bitcoin has become a key alternative funding method for international donors working to bypass financial institutions that are blocking payments aimed at aiding Ukraine, said Elliptic on Tuesday. The company runs crypto-risk assessments such as wallet screenings, transaction monitoring, and investigations and counts crypto firms, financial institutions, and regulators as customers.

Hundreds of crypto-based donations have gone to volunteer groups and non-government organizations, or NGOs, that have close links to the Ukrainian government. Such funding shot up by more than 900% in 2021. Volunteer groups are helping the Ukrainian military by providing soldiers and weapons and other items following decades of corruption and neglect, the report said.

Several cryptocurrency wallets used by volunteer groups and NGOs have collectively received just over $570,000 in donations, much of it coming in over the past year, said Elliptic, which identified the wallets.

One of the largest organizations supporting the Ukrainian army called Come Back Alive received nearly $200,000 in bitcoin donations in the second half of 2021, marking a recent jump in funding. The organization, which provides military equipment and training services, started accepting cryptoassets in 2018.


Elliptic also highlighted the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, a collective that's engaged in cyberattacks against Russian targets since 2016. It said unlike other groups that rely heavily on bank wires, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance's public fundraising relies solely on cryptoasset donations. The alliance has drawn in about $100,000 in bitcoin, litecoin, ether, and stablecoins over the past year.

"By embracing cryptoasset fundraising, Ukrainian volunteer groups are actually emulating techniques previously employed by Russia since the very start of the Russo-Ukrainian War," said Elliptic. It said a series of online campaigns raised money for Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, with money channeled through Russian and overseas banks. The campaigns also accepted crypto donations.

Russia has been amassing troops at Ukraine's border for months and has deployed 130,000 troops at the border. Russia could take military action against Ukraine "any day now" or in a couple of weeks, unless it opts for a diplomatic resolution with Ukraine, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Fox News Sunday this week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Monday press conference said Ukraine must be made to implement elements of the Minsk Protocol, a cease-fire agreement in 2014 to end fighting between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.