Ukraine turns to NFTs to support military after cryptocurrency airdrop cancelled

Ukraine has decided to cancel its proposed cryptocurrency airdrop and instead issue NFTs to support the country's armed forces.

Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov made the announcement shortly before the airdrop was due to proceed.

The move would have given all those who had donated cryptocurrency to help fight Russia's invasion new coins for free as a thank you.

"After careful consideration we decided to cancel airdrop," Fedorov wrote on Twitter.

"Every day there are more and more people willing to help Ukraine to fight back the aggression. Instead, we will announce NFTs to support Ukrainian Armed Forces soon.

"We do not have any plans to issue any fungible tokens."

Fedorov had previously told Reuters Ukraine would use the cryptocurrency funds "to destroy as much Russian soldiers as possible".

According to blockchain analytics platform Elliptic, the total raised from crowdfunding donations has now reached US$54.7 million (NZ$80.5 million).

That has come from more than 100,000 individual donations and includes a multi-million dollar donation from blockchain platform Polkadot's founder Gavin Wood. A CryptoPunk NFT worth over US$200,000 was also donated.

Another donation, worth nearly US$2 million, appeared to have come from the sale of NFTs originally set to raise funds for Wikileaks' Julian Assange, who is facing deportation to the US, Elliptic said.

Around US$8 million dollars of the total received so far has been donated to Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian non-governmental organisation (NGO) which supports the military.

Come Back Alive's Patreon page was suspended in late February as its military purpose violated the website's policies.

Most of the cryptocurrency donations have been in the two most popular coins - bitcoin and ether.

However, the country has even started accepting donations in Dogecoin, a meme-based cryptocurrency previously supported by Elon Musk.

"Dogecoin exceeded Russian ruble in value," Fedorov wrote.

"We start to accept donations in meme coin. Now even meme can support our army and save lives from Russian invaders."

He then tagged in Musk and one of the creators of dogecoin, saying "let's do it".