The Ukrainian government partnered with the cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX, which recently filed for bankruptcy, to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fun its war against Russia.
The Ukrainian government website detailing the partnership, which set out to raise $200,000,000 in various forms of cryptocurrency, has been wiped from the internet following FTX filing for bankruptcy.
Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation is listed as an official partner of FTX on the initiative, which claimed to send funds the the National Bank of Ukraine.
The cryptocurrency trading platform's pro-Ukraine position in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine comes amidst its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, also becoming the second largest donor to Democrats in the 2022 midterm election cycle.
"The official website for Aid For Ukraine, an initiative that raises funds from the crypto community for the benefit of Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs, has officially launched. The initiative is powered by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, FTX, and Everstake," explains a press release announcing the joint effort.
The "Aid For Ukraine" effort utilized FTX services to convert "crypto funds received into fiat and send the donations to the National Bank of Ukraine," ultimately becoming the fifth-largest charitable foundation assisting in the country's war effort.
"This marks the first-ever instance of a cryptocurrency exchange directly cooperating with a public financial entity to provide a conduit for crypto donations," continued the press release, which also included a quote from Fried:
“At the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, FTX felt the need to provide assistance in any way it could. By working with the Ministry of Digital Transformation to set up payment rails and facilitate the conversion of crypto donations into fiat currency, we have given the National Bank of Ukraine the ability to deliver aid and resources to the people who need it most. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Sergey and the Everstake team as they continue to work tirelessly in helping Ukrainians as they suffer from this conflict."
Though the website, whose domain ends with an official ".gov.ua" from the Ukrainian government, that was used to promote the initiative and gather donations has been deleted, the last available archive of the webpage from October 26th revealed that $60 million had been raised. Other reports estimate the figure at $100 million.
Among "Aid for Ukraine's" expenditures during the month of July was $5,250,519 for a "worldwide anti-war media campaign," which noted that "for security reasons, reports will be published after our victory." In April, $3,957,917 was spent on the campaign.
$5,738,200 was spent on a "purchase of specialized hardware and software complexes" in July which claimed additional details were classified as "non-public information." In April, $5,500,000 was spent on the hardware and software.
Similarly, the group spent $5,083,988, according to the website, on "lethal equipment" in July, claiming additional details contained "non-public information." In April, $1,801,113 was spent on the equipment.
The website does not appear to have financial information for the months of May, June, August, or September.
Ukrainian government officials were also quoted on the site in an effort to raise funds, including Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister of The country's Ministry of Digital Transformation.
"Every helmet, bulletproof vest and night vision device save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. Thus, we must continue to support our defenders. Thanks so much to everyone from the crypto community for supporting Ukraine!," he claimed.
Similarly, the following quote from Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Alex Bornyakov was displayed prominently on the page:
"Today, crypto is playing a significant role in Ukraine’s defense. Huge thanks to the crypto community for this unprecedented support of Ukraine and its defense of the principles of democracy and freedom in face of the war waged by the Russian Federation."
Fried is also quoted on the website:
"Incredibly excited and humbled to be working with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Everstake, and others to support crypto donations to Ukraine."