Activists in Ukraine have started using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to help fund their continued protest in the country’s capital, Kiev, amid the ongoing violence.
Photos of demonstrators have appeared in the media that show QR codes printed on demonstration placards. Bitcoin owners can then scan the QR codes to donate bitcoins to the demonstrators to help them in their efforts.
A QR code is a square barcode-like image that can be scanned by a smartphone’s camera to link to a web address, in this occasion, a Bitcoin address.
One image, posted on CoinDesk.com, shows a woman working on a food line holding a board that says ‘Support the Revolution’ with a QR code underneath, and the logo of Bitcoin next to it.
Photo credit: Olga Kami, via CoinDesk
It has been reported that donations over three accounts have so far added up to around $16,000.
A Bitcoin entrepreneur based in Beijing, Jake Smith, got in touch with Kiev-based online protest coordinator Nastasia Pustova to see if she would be interested in bringing bitcoins into the campaign.
"I’d heard a lot about Bitcoin – many of my friends are geeky guys working abroad. Bitcoin was often joked about, but I didn’t get into much detail until Jake contacted me," Pustova said.
CoinDesk reports that Viktor Kiyashko from the Czech Republic is helping Pustova convert the Bitcoin donations into useable currency.
"Working as an IT Manager for DHL Information Services in Prague, Kiyashko says he has transferred the equivalent of over $15,000 so far, sometimes needing to convert currencies multiple times and using his own money to pay a fee for each one," said CoinDesk.