On Saturday, the official Ukrainian twitter account shared two cryptocurrency wallet addresses: a bitcoin wallet address and an ethereum wallet address. “To be with the people of Ukraine. we now accept donations in cryptocurrencies. bitcoin, ethereum and usdt,” wrote @ukraine.
but it’s hard to know for sure who owns and operates these wallets: a public address is just a long string of letters and numbers. they don’t technically belong to anyone, since someone can transfer ownership of a wallet.
Reading: Ukraine bitcoin address
The first logical reaction to a tweet like that is that you should proceed with extreme caution. it is unclear whether those wallets are run by a member of the government, a government agency, someone outside the government informally facilitating crypto donations on behalf of the government, or someone posing as a member of the government.
but there are several reasons why it seems more likely than not that the Ukrainian government has control of the funds received in these wallet addresses. First, the tweet was not removed, which probably rules out the possibility that @ukraine was compromised. the people running the official government account would have removed the tweet relatively quickly if someone had hijacked the account.
Secondly, other people shared those wallet addresses, starting with Ukraine’s deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation, mykhailo fedorov. “To be with the people of Ukraine. we now accept cryptocurrency donations,” fedorov wrote.
Thirdly, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation confirmed that @ukraine’s tweet is genuine. “yes, these accounts belong to the state; we have created a special crypto fund,” a spokesperson told me in an email.
and many people have already sent crypto assets to those addresses. this part is easier to understand as you can simply enter the public addresses into a blockchain explorer to see the list of incoming and outgoing transactions.
At the time of writing this article, we can see on etherscan that the ethereum wallet received around 6800 transactions. Similarly, there have been more than 7000 transactions related to the bitcoin wallet address.
People sent 153 btc and 2,230 eth, with a current value of $6.29 million and $6.27 million, respectively. some donors also sent ethereum-based crypto assets, such as usdt and usdc.
It is worth noting that some members of the crypto community have also started their own fundraising efforts. michael silberling put together a dune analytics dashboard to track crypto donations to the @ukraine-backed ethereum wallet address, but also to other community-led projects.
When it comes to outgoing transactions, large sums of eth have already been transferred to kuna, a kyiv-based cryptocurrency exchange.
“kuna.io is providing technical support for fundraising in ukraine,” a kuna spokesperson told me in an email. “all funds are safe and are being directed to government needs as requested.”
Kuna’s founder, Michael Chobanian, has been active primarily on Telegram, but recently created his own Twitter account to share details about donations. (The Kuna team confirmed in an email that the account is a legitimate account).
chobanian began sharing updates on the progress of the fundraising effort:
There are still some outstanding questions. What currency are crypto assets traded for? And how are these funds spent?
techcrunch has asked the Ukrainian government for more details about the funds. We also contacted Michael Chobanian from Kuna, but have not received a response at the time of writing.
In other words, there will be room for more stories on the subject. but it’s already interesting to see how a tweet containing a handful of crypto wallet addresses started a large-scale fundraising campaign with donors around the world in a matter of hours.