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Bitcoin donations pour in to Ukraine amid Russia invasion

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An organization that provides aid to the Ukrainian military received nearly half a million dollars worth of bitcoin donations on Thursday as Russian forces invaded the country.

Come Back Alive, a non-governmental organization that was formed in 2014 after Russian-backed forces invaded Crimea, was gifted $400,000 worth of the digital currency during a 12-hour span on Thursday, according to CNBC.

The blockchain analytics firm Elliptic is tracking donations to Come Back Alive and other Ukrainian NGOs on the ground as Russian troops make advances into the heart of the country.

The donations are being used to purchase equipment and supplies for Ukrainian soldiers and medics.

The NGOs are also reportedly using the funds to develop facial recognition apps to identify Russian mercenaries or spies.

A volunteer NGO that provides supplies and equipment to the Ukrainian military raised some $400,000 in bitcoin in just 12 hours on Thursday.
A volunteer NGO that provides supplies and equipment to the Ukrainian military raised some $400,000 in bitcoin in just 12 hours on Thursday.
Getty Images/Westend61

The use of cryptocurrency is appealing since cross-border transactions can be made without the involvement of financial institutions.

Come Back Alive started accepting cryptocurrency in 2018. Other groups including the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has received upward of $100,000 in bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, among other digital currencies.

According to Elliptic, the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance has been engaged in hacks and cyberattacks against Russian entities since 2016.

Ukraine legalized cryptocurrency last year, but donations have skyrocketed since the Russian invasion.
Ukraine legalized cryptocurrency last year, but donations have skyrocketed since the Russian invasion.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last year, Ukraine legalized bitcoin. Before the parliament unanimously voted to approve the use of regulated cryptocurrency, the exchange of virtual assets existed in a legal gray area.

Pro-Russian forces in Ukraine have also been raising funds in bitcoin for years, according to analysts.



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