Saturday, September 23, 2023

Since the beginning of Russia’s full scale invasion last year, Ukraine racked up $225 million worth of donations in cryptocurrencies alone, blockchain intelligence firm Crystal Blockchain said in a new report shared exclusively with CoinDesk.

This is just a small part of the billions of donations Ukraine has raised in fiat. But the crypto part contributed to purchases of weapons, ammunition, medical equipment and other crucial war supplies.

One year ago, last June, the total amount of crypto donations was about $135 million, showing that crypto users around the world kept supporting Ukraine throughout the past year. However, the monthly donation amounts stagnated in late 2022 and 2023, never raising more than $10 million a month since last May.

March 2022 was the most fruitful month for donations, as the war has just started and the global support for helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion was the strongest.

Read more: Where the Coins Go: Inside Ukraine’s $135M Wartime Fundraise

Crypto donations to Ukraine by month / Crystal Blockchain
Crypto donations to Ukraine by month / Crystal Blockchain

Humanitarian initiatives attract more donations than the army’s fundraisers, Crystal’s data show. Ukrainian funds raised around $134 million in crypto for humanitarian needs, while military-oriented campaigns gathered $91 million.

Most donations ($83 million) came in the form of USDT, Crystal calculated, slightly less was in ether ($79 million). Bitcoin donations contributed $41 million and smaller cryptocurrencies like Binance USD (BUSD), Polkadot’s DOT and others made up the rest.

Donations to Ukraine by cryptocurrency / Crystal Blockchain
Donations to Ukraine by cryptocurrency / Crystal Blockchain

In the meantime, Russia’s military and paramilitary units have also been using crypto to get some material support from Russians and sympathizers abroad. Those fundraising efforts have been much been more clandestine, as CoinDesk reported earlier.

This low-profile character of fundraising, together with the broad global condemnation of Russia’s actions, might be the reason for much smaller amounts raised: Crystal says that crypto donations for the Russian military only brought about $2 million in crypto, though other estimates show higher amounts. In February, Chainalysis found $5.4 million of donations both to Russian military units and to propaganda resources, and Binance told CoinDesk it located over $7.2 million worth of such donations.

Edited by Ben Schiller.

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