The team of Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny received donations in bitcoins worth $300,000 since the beginning of the year. This is twice as much as they received in 2020.
From January 1 to February 11, 2021, 6,242 BTC were received on the bitcoin wallet of the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) worth $300,000. The largest donation of 1 BTC was made the day after Alexey Navalny returned to Russia from Germany, where he received long-term treatment after alleged poisoning by Russian special services.
“We use bitcoin because it’s a good legal means of payment. The fact that we have bitcoin payments as an alternative helps to defend us from the Russian authorities. They see if they close down other more traditional channels, we will still have bitcoin. It’s like insurance,” Leonid Volkov, who is in charge of Navalny’s campaign HQs across Russia, told Reuters.
Navalny's team began accepting Bitcoin donations in 2016 to make it harder for Russian intelligence agencies to track such transactions and put pressure on people who send donations, explains Reuters.
Since the beginning of accepting donations in bitcoin, 658 BTC were transferred to Navalny.
Volkov said that the overall donations in January 2021 doubled compared to the previous month, but did not specify donations by payment method. One can also donate to Navalny's team using bank transfers and cards, as well as Paypal. Volkov said that Bitcoin donations usually account for about 10% of the total volume. “But in January this was not so,” he added.
Volkov noted that it is incorrect to estimate donations in bitcoins at $300,000, since most of them were made when the cryptocurrency rate was much lower.