As the international community rallies around Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, cryptocurrency users are also chipping in. According to blockchain-analysis firm Elliptic, nearly $55 million in cryptoassets have been donated as of this writing, either directly to the Ukranian government or to an NGO called Come Back Alive that supports the Ukrainian military.
Elliptic chief scientist Tom Robinson told AP News most donations so far have been in Bitcoin and ether. However, people are also sending NFTs to the Ukrainian government’s Ethereum account. Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has praised cryptocurrency donations, and even directly called upon Elon Musk and dogecoin creator Shibetoshi Nakamoto to aid in the effort.
“Now even meme can support our army and save lives from Russian invaders,” Fedorov tweeted.
@dogecoin exceeded Russian ruble in value. We start to accept donations in meme coin. Now even meme can support our army and save lives from Russian invaders. $DOGE owners of the world, @elonmusk, @BillyM2k, let’s do it. Official $DOGE wallet: DS76K9uJJzQjCFvAbpPGtFerp1qkJoeLwL
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022
The Ukrainian government tweeted its plea for cryptocurrency donations last week, recognizing Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood’s large donation.
The people of Ukraine fighting for our freedom are forever grateful to Gavin Wood @gavofyork for the generous donation of $5M of @Polkadot $DOT as promised publicly. Thank you from all of us here in Ukraine working for a peaceful future
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) March 1, 2022
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Fedorov has also tweeted directly to major crypto exchanges, asking these platforms to get involved by blocking addresses of Russian users. Coinbase and Binance have thus far refused to go that far.
I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.
It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 27, 2022
A Binance spokesperson told CNBC that, while it would block the accounts of Russian users who have been specifically targeted by sanctions, an outright freeze on all Russian users “would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.” Instead, the company pledged that it would donate $10 million to help with Ukraine’s humanitarian efforts.
Coinbase expressed similar sentiments to Motherboard, saying that a total ban “would punish ordinary Russian citizens who are enduring historic currency destabilization.”