People have donated over $400,000 in crypto to support the Ukrainian army in the past 24 hours

February 24, 2022, 10:14 PM UTC

In the past 24 hours, cryptocurrency donations have poured in for the Ukrainian army as Russian forces continue to attack the country.

Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization that raises crypto funds for the Ukrainian army, has received more than $400,000 worth of digital tokens in the past day, according to research from blockchain and crypto analytics firm Elliptic. The average amount donated is around $1,000 to $2,000, and the group has received at least 317 individual donations in the past two days.

The incoming donations “haven’t stopped,” and the firm expects the number to increase by tomorrow, Jess Symington, Elliptic’s head of research, told Fortune. Pro-Ukraine groups and pro-crypto communities on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have contributed to the recent swell of donations, she says.

People donating crypto to support pro-Ukraine efforts hasn’t been limited to the past few days, though. NGOs and volunteer groups using crypto crowdfunding to help the country’s war effort against Russia raised over $570,000 over the past year, which went toward the Ukrainian army, cyber activists, and other groups, according to a Feb. 8 report by Elliptic. The analytics firm says it has tracked donations through identifying the crypto wallets used by the various groups.

The surge of donations in cryptocurrencies signifies that digital assets have “emerged as an important alternative funding method, allowing international donors to bypass financial institutions that are blocking payments to these groups,” Elliptic wrote in the same February report.

In 2014, after Russia annexed a part of Crimea—what was then a Ukrainian territory with a majority Russian population—pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups both pushed crypto crowdfunding campaigns, but the funds they raised weren’t significant, says Symington.

Since then, crypto adoption has surged in Ukraine and Russia. Today, Ukraine is one of the top jurisdictions worldwide for cryptocurrencies. The country ranks fourth worldwide in crypto adoption, with $8 billion flowing in and out of the country every year, according to an October 2021 report from blockchain data firm Chainalysis.

The Ukrainian government last week also passed a bill to legalize cryptocurrencies, the first step in setting up a framework for the regulation and management of the digital assets.

Cryptocurrency prices have plummeted in the past two weeks over fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine; the market has lost $150 billion in value since Putin ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine early Thursday morning Moscow time.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense set up a designated bank account to accept donations for its troops. Still, the Ministry noted that it’s only able to receive fiat currency—and unable to accept donations in cryptocurrencies and via other payment systems, like PayPal.

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