The Kyiv-based Come Back Alive foundation’s cryptocurrency wallet appeared to have received 130 BTC, worth around $5.1m, as of Friday evening and more than 2,200 donations in total, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.
It was founded in 2014 and takes its name from the phrase its founder, IT expert Vitaliy Deynega, placed on bullet proof vests sent to soldiers fighting Russian and separatist troops in Eastern Ukraine.
It has carried out fundraising to provide supplies and equipment such as drones and thermographic cameras.
The foundation started accepting bitcoin in 2018, but observers say that the majority of the cryptocurrency it now holds has flooded in over the past few days.
“Cryptocurrency is increasingly being used to crowdfund war, with the tacit approval of governments,” said Tom Robinson, chief scientist of Elliptic, which sells blockchain analytics tools to banks and cryptocurrency platforms.
Patreon, a private company where creators can post subscription-only content, suspended the group’s donation page on Thursday following the invasion, and returned hundreds of thousands of dollars to donors.
Patreon said in a statement that buying military equipment using the site was banned.
“Patreon does not allow any campaigns involved in violence or purchasing of military equipment, regardless of their cause,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are investigating because of representations on their donation pagefor how the funds will be used. We have suspended the campaign in question while we investigate.
“If a page is ultimately removed our policy is to send the creator the remaining funds or refund all pledges.”
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