• Donations of Cryptocurrency to Ukraine Funds pour in from Bitcoin, Ether, PolkaDot, and NFTs, bringing the total to $52 million

  • The Ukraine government and organizations supporting its fight against a Russian invasion have received more than $52 million in cryptocurrency donations—with at least $14 million already deployed—as the country begins accepting a wider range of tokens and digital assets, including proceeds from the sale of one of the most expensive non-fungible tokens in history.

    According to blockchain analytics firm Merkle Science, wallet addresses linked to the Ukrainian government and nongovernmental organizations supporting its military have received nearly 60,000 donations since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine early Thursday, including an all-time high of more than 10,000 on Wednesday morning.

    The earnings from a Ukrainian flag NFT auctioned off Wednesday by the Ethereum-based organisation Ukraine DAO totaled $6.5 million, making it the ninth most expensive NFT ever sold, according to Tom Robinson, chief scientist at blockchain analytics company Elliptic.

    According to Elliptic, as of 12 p.m., wallet addresses directly linked to the Ukrainian government had received approximately $34 million in bitcoin, ether, tron, and polkadot, including $5.8 million from Polkadot founder Gavin Wood and a highly sought-after CryptoPunk NFT worth over $200,000; the government also began accepting dogecoin on Wednesday morning.

    On Twitter Wednesday morning, Ukraine’s Kuna Exchange founder Michael Chobanian, whose firm has been assisting the country in managing the cryptocurrency received, noted that approximately $14 million of the donations had already been spent, with the majority of spending taking place entirely in cryptocurrency transactions.

    Chobanian told CoinDesk on Tuesday that monies had been sent to Ukraine’s military and special forces to help purchase equipment, food, and gas, but he declined to provide further details “due to a level of secrecy involved.”

    He also stated that ether and bitcoin—which have accounted for approximately 69 percent of donations, according to Merkle Science—were his “favorite” form of spending because to their ease of conversion.

    IMPORTANT BACKGROUND

    Ukrainian officials took to Twitter on Saturday to request bitcoin donations to aid in the fight against the Russian military, following the success of a number of nongovernmental organizations and volunteer groups in raising more than $5 million in just a few days. The donations to Ukraine, which come a week after the Ukrainian parliament passed a bill legalizing cryptocurrencies, “add to a trend of nation-states turning to crypto assets as a means of raising revenue,” Elliptic highlighted in a study this month. “Iran is believed to be stealing cryptocurrency to assist its missile development program, while North Korea is believed to be taking Bitcoin to commercialize its energy reserves.”

    WHERE DO WE STAND?

    Though the Ukrainian government has used a considerable percentage of the proceeds, it is unclear whether it has sold any of the NFTs it has received. The CryptoPunk donation on Tuesday evening apparently last sold for around $31,300 in February 2021, which is roughly one-sixth of its current estimated value.

    IMPRESSIVE FACT

    Despite the surge in cryptocurrency support, the vast bulk of relief is still likely to be in the form of traditional currencies. The United Nations issued a plea for $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries on Tuesday.

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