Crypto donations for Russian military groups reach almost $20 million, Elliptic says

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  • Pro-Russian crypto donations for military groups have reached almost $20 million, Elliptic said in a report released this week.

Crypto donations directed toward Russian military fundraising groups since the beginning of the Ukraine invasion have reached $20 million, Elliptic said in a report released this week.

Nearly two-thirds of pro-Russian crypto funds involve entities sanctioned by the U.S., Elliptic said. Ukraine’s highly publicized crypto donation campaign, meanwhile, has raised at least $212 million. 

"Pro-Russian donations have gradually increased their momentum compared to pro-Ukrainian donations," Elliptic said.

Entities involved in crypto payment rails include the U.S.-sanctioned Task Force Rusich group of PMC Wagner mercenaries. Elliptic also found that senior officials of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic have been rewarding defectors and intelligence about Ukrainian military positions with bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the digital asset of choice for most donations

The Elliptic researchers found over 80% of funds channeled to sanctioned entities ended up on exchanges, revealing considerable sanction evasion risks from exchanges if proper compliance measures aren't in place.

Bitcoin was found to be the digital asset of choice for most Russian donations, with comparatively little utilization of DeFi protocols and ether.

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