Bitcoin has become a significant funding source for one of Russia's leading political dissidents.
Alexei Navalny, a politician believed by many to be President Vladimir Putin's main opponent, has attracted more than 591 BTC in donations over the last three years, worth about $3 million at current prices, public blockchain data shows.
The donations became a flashpoint this week when a pro-Putin television network questioned their timing.
On Monday, an anonymous Telegram channel, "FBK Staffer's Confession," noted that the Navalny organization's wallet received several large donations a few days before FBK published one such investigation, insinuating it was a paid hit piece. The claim was covered in Russian media, including the pro-Putin Tsargrad TV.
When contacted by Russian news publication Znak, FBK's chief of staff Leonid Volkov denied any connection between the transactions and its investigations, saying the anonymous blogger "dragged the non-existent facts together in by the head and shoulders."
Most transactions were worth from a fraction of a bitcoin to several bitcoins. From time to time, larger transactions occurred, bringing in up to 20 BTC at once.
Yet Navalny's political movement, which also accepts donations via bank transfers and PayPal, is not the only dissenting voice in Russia to take cryptocurrency.
Alexei Navalny image via Shutterstock
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