As mentioned also on Bitcoinminershashrate.com -The Ukrainian government – and an NGO providing support to the military – have raised $63.8 million, through more than 120,000 crypto asset donations since the start of the Russian invasion. This includes a $5.8 million donation by Polkadot founder Gavin Wood, and a CryptoPunk NFT worth over $200, 000. This article will be updated with current figures.
On February 26th, Twitter accounts belonging to the Ukrainian government posted pleas for crypto asset donations. To date, the Bitcoin, Ethereum, TRON, Polkadot, Dogecoin and Solana addresses listed in the tweets have received donations worth $54.4 million.
The donations include a single transaction worth $1.86 million, which appears to have come from the proceeds of the sale of NFTs created by Julian Assange and the digital artist Pak. A CryptoPunk NFT worth approximately $200,000 has also been sent to the Ukrainian government’s Ethereum account. Several million dollars in crypto donations have also been received by Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian NGO which supports the military – as described in previous Elliptic research. On February 24th, the membership platform Patreon announced that it had suspended Come Back Alive’s page due to policy violations as a result of its military activity.
Come Back Alive looks set an additional major donation. UkraineDAO has auctioned off an NFT of the Ukrainian flag for $6.5 million in ETH – the 10th most expensive NFT ever sold. The proceeds are to be donated to the NGO.
The majority of donations received to date have been in Bitcoin and Ether, although US dollar stablecoins contribute a significant proportion. But it’s not only cryptoassets that are being donated; people are also sending NFTs to the Ukrainian government’s Ethereum account. One such NFT has a value of approximately $300.
Cryptoasset fundraising campaigns to support the Ukrainian military are also being organized outside of Ukraine. Ukraine DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization, which aims to raise Ether to be donated to Come Back Alive.
Scammers also appear to be taking advantage of the current situation by tricking unsuspecting users wishing to donate to Ukrainian causes. Elliptic has identified a number of fraudulent crypto fundraising scams which are exploiting the current situation.
Bitcoin Money Laundering: How Criminals Use Crypto
Although cryptocurrency can be used for illicit activity, the overall impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on money laundering and other crimes is sparse in comparison to cash transactions. As of 2019, only $829 million in bitcoin has been spent on the dark web1 (a mere 0.5% of all bitcoin transactions.)
Since blockchain technology provides a public record of each transaction, exposure to the risk of financial crime in cryptocurrency including bitcoin money laundering is manageable.
However, many MSBs remain unclear about their role in preventing money laundering and other crime on the blockchain, They may not know how to properly implement key AML processes such as Know Your Customer (KYC) identity verification or they may just feel like the challenges of unmasking criminals is a burden that’s not theirs to bear. In these cases, MSBs May simply look the other way rather than confront the problem.