According to a report stemming from the blockchain intelligence company Chainalysis, the firm identified 54 pro-Russian groups that have “collectively received over $2.2 million worth of cryptocurrency.” The paramilitary groups in Ukraine primarily received bitcoin and ether donations but also got tether, litecoin and dogecoin as well, the Chainalysis study details.
“Most of the cryptocurrencies donated thus far have been sent to just a few organizations in particular,” the Chainalysis report explains. “However, many more have received still-considerable sums. Five organizations have received over $100,000, 17 have received over $10,000, and 35 have raised more than $1,000 worth of cryptocurrency.”
“The accounts that support militias often publish pictures of the purchased equipment and descriptions of how future donations will be used,” the Chainalysis report says with an accompanying picture of military equipment purchased with crypto. “Sometimes the posts even itemize the purchases,” Chainalysis researchers wrote.
The Chainalysis report further says that funds are being sent to people listed on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned individuals list. For instance, “Alexander Zhuchkovsky, an OFAC-designated Russian national, has used social media to solicit donations for the Russian Imperial Movement.”
While the $2.2 million in crypto is a significant sum, Chainalysis researchers remark that the information is useful. “Because public blockchains are transparent, we can follow each transfer in these accounts’ chains of payments, gleaning insights into pro-Russian activities that would be harder to extract from fiat money investigations,” the company’s report concludes.
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