Ukraine tweeted it was ‘now accepting cryptocurrency donations.’ In two days, $12 million worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT poured in

February 28, 2022, 11:33 AM UTC

During times of war, countries normally turn to taxes or bond sales to raise money for military campaigns. But Ukraine has bolstered its war chest with millions of dollars in cryptocurrency donations, crowdfunded in two days by strangers responding to a tweet from the country’s official Twitter, as Ukraine continues to defend against a Russian invasion.

On Saturday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine tweeted that the country was “now accepting cryptocurrency donations” as it urged people to “stand with Ukraine,” and provided links to two crypto wallets. According to the tweet, Ukraine is accepting donations in Bitcoin, Ether, and USDT—the last one a so-called stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.

By Sunday, Ukraine’s two official crypto wallets had accrued over $12 million worth of donations, according to analytics firm Elliptic, with one of the single largest donations worth $1.86 million. That generous contribution was donated by a group that had raised money through an auction of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The auction, which took place weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, was originally a fundraiser for covering the legal fees of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Some observers—including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin—were initially skeptical of the Ukraine tweet soliciting donations, suggesting that malicious hackers might have hijacked Ukraine’s Twitter account. But others, including a former U.S. diplomat, have since confirmed the veracity of the tweet.

It perhaps isn’t surprising that Ukraine would welcome donations in cryptocurrency. The government formally legalized cryptocurrency only days before Russia invaded, and the Eastern European country conducts more daily cross-border transactions in crypto than it does in its own fiat currency, the hryvnia.

The government isn’t the only body in Ukraine raising funds through crypto crowdfunding. Nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and charities have appealed to crypto holders for donations too.

Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian NGO raising funds for the Ukrainian military, turned to crowdfunding crypto donations last week after the subscription payment service Patreon suspended the group’s account.

Patreon says the NGO, which had raised $400,000 through the platform, violated its terms of service, which prohibit fundraising for military support. According to Elliptic, the group has now raised “several million dollars” in crypto donations.

Elliptic says the Ukraine government and NGOs providing support to the Ukrainian military have collectively raised $18.9 million in cryptocurrency since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.

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