Elliptic Reports: Russian Military Groups Receive Close to $20 Million in Crypto Donations

Sales of Bitcoin Mining Rigs in Russia Surge in Q4: Report

Elliptic provides global financial institutions and cryptocurrency enterprises with the tools and expertise to effectively handle anti-money laundering (AML) risks and identify illicit behavior within blockchain transactions.

The recent counter-offensive in Ukraine has caused additional disruption among Russian military fundraising organizations, as the failed Wagner rebellion on June 23rd has further unsettled them.

A year after the commencement of the invasion, Ukraine’s widely publicized and fruitful cryptocurrency donation campaign has managed to accumulate a minimum of $212 million. This remarkable sum accounted for a significant 20% of the total funds generated by major grassroots fundraisers in Ukraine.

In contrast, pro-Russian military procurement and disinformation groups had initially raised a relatively modest amount of $4.2 million. However, following the identification and imposition of sanctions on new Russian financiers by NATO allies, Elliptic’s research team has determined that pro-Russian cryptocurrency donations have now surged significantly closer to the $20 million mark.

According to Elliptic, there has been a steady rise in the momentum of pro-Russian donations in comparison to pro-Ukrainian donations.

Among the entities utilizing crypto payment systems, the U.S.-sanctioned Task Force Rusich, consisting of PMC Wagner mercenaries, is prominently involved. Elliptic’s investigation has further revealed that senior officials affiliated with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have been incentivizing defectors and the provision of intelligence regarding Ukrainian military positions through the use of bitcoin rewards.

The researchers at Elliptic discovered that more than 80% of the funds directed towards sanctioned entities ultimately made their way to cryptocurrency exchanges, highlighting the significant risks of sanction evasion if adequate compliance measures are not implemented by these exchanges.

Bitcoin emerged as the preferred digital asset for the majority of Russian donations, with comparatively lesser usage of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and ether.

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