Russia Received Up to $20M in Crypto Donations – Report


More than one year after war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, Russian military fundraising groups have received around $20 million in crypto as donation, according to an Elliptic report. The report also highlighted that a significant percentage of these donations were from companies that were sanctioned by authorities in the United States. 

At first, pro-Russian military procurement and disinformation groups raised $4.2 million. It was not until later when new Russian financiers were identified and sanctioned by NATO allies that the donations rose to around $20 million. 

Russia Militias Receive Donations in Variety of Crypto

As of July 2022, TheCoinRise reported that pro-Russia militias have received donations in digital currencies, totaling over $2.2 million. The donations were done in a variety of cryptocurrencies ranging from Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Litecoin (LTC), and Tron-based United States dollar-pegged stablecoin USDT. Notably, the largest portion of the contributions was in BTC.

According to blockchain analytic platform Chainalysis, “Since the start of the war, we’ve identified 54 such organizations that have collectively received over $2.2 million worth of cryptocurrency, primarily from Bitcoin and Ether donations. Considerable quantities of Tether, Litecoin, and Dogecoin have been sent as well.”

Ukraine Receives More Crypto Donations

On the other hand, Ukraine crypto donation campaign has raked in up to $212 million. The first few weeks after the invasion, Ukraine received more than $70 million in cryptocurrencies. The donation was basically for military hardware and humanitarian aid. 

Later on, Ukraine donations across wallet addresses, relief funds, and charities had reached $108 million with the top three donations from the official Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet addresses of the Ukrainian government, and a BTC donation address from Come Back Alive.

Pro-Russian Militias Engage CEX, DeFi and Others

From the Elliptic report, when these funds were traced, it was observed that most of them ended up in centralized exchanges (CEX). “Over 80% of funds observed originating from these entities end up in exchanges, emphasizing the significant risks of sanctions exposure to such services if compliance precautions are absent,” the report explained.

Sometimes, pro-Russian entities also engage with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols, including decentralized exchanges, cross-chain bridges and Non-fungible token (NFT) services. An example is the “Terricon Project” which was designed to raise funds for the Russian war effort.

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