According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, NGOs and volunteer groups have raised over $4 million in cryptoasset donations as of Friday. A single NGO received $675,000 in Bitcoin on Thursday and $3.4 million on Friday. Over $3 million of Friday's contribution came from an unknown single donor.
Elliptic notes that cryptoassets allow for "quick, cross-border donations, which bypass financial institutions that might be blocking payments to these groups."
One NGO raising money for the Ukraine military is Come Back Alive, a Kyiv-based charitable foundation established in 2014 to provide technical assistance and training to Ukraine's armed forces.
On Friday morning, crowdfunding platform Patreon suspended Come Back Alive's account for violating its community guidelines, noting it was using funds raised on the platform to purchase "more than 1,500 tablets with software for Gunnya-Armor artillerymen, 230 quadcopters, 45 mobile surveillance systems … and more than 60 military vehicles." The funds were also used to train 350 snipers, 2,000 sappers and 3,000 gunners, according to Patreon.
As of Thursday, an archived version of Come Back Alive's Patreon page reported total donations of $431,989 per month from 14,482 patrons.
Patreon said in a blog post that it does not allow funding on the platform to be used for "weapons for military activity" and that all the remaining funds in Come From Alive's account will be refunded to contributors. In addition, Patreon advised individuals interested in showing financial support to send donations to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, Voices of Children, Revived Soldiers Ukraine or the 3,000-plus Ukranian creators on its platform.
"We are shocked and heartbroken at the invasion of Ukraine," Patreon added. "Like so many around the world, we are watching this tragedy closely and wishing for the safety of the Ukrainian people in harm’s way."
Come Back Alive posted on its Facebook page that it plans to appeal Patreon's ban and is asking supporters to spread the word about its removal.
"Patreon deleted the fund page. Without a warning. In a very difficult time for Ukraine," the organization said.
Ukrainian officials have reported at least 137 deaths on the Ukrainian side and claimed hundreds on the Russian side. Russian authorities released no casualty figures, and it was not possible to verify the tolls. Meanwhile, U.N. officials reported 25 civilian deaths, mostly from shelling and airstrikes, and said that 100,000 people were believed to have left their homes, estimating up to 4 million could flee if the fighting escalates.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to send a delegation for talks with Ukrainian officials in Minsk, Belarus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report