Crypto donors, hackers aiding Ukraine drone defenses

In their continued defense against Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s technophile officials are turning two beloved geek archetypes – crypto currency fans and hackers – to reinforce the nation’s impressive deployment of military, adapted consumer, and specialized DIY drones for emergency, medical, humanitarian, surveillance, and even attack purposes.

This week Ukraine’s vice prime minister of Ukraine and minister of digital transformation, Myhailo Fedorov, posted a pair of tweets highlighting his organization’s embrace of its geekier side to aid the nation’s struggle against Russia. In the first he detailed how Ukraine spent nearly $12 million from a total of $60 million in crypto currency donations to procure drones, and in the second he called on all able and ready programmers to join the nation’s “first military Drone Hackathon.” 

Neither announcement will be particularly good news to the far better armed Russian forces whose offensive has nevertheless largely stalled in the face of plucky, innovative resistance by Ukraine soldiers and volunteers.

Read‘Dronephobia’ video mocks Russian terror of Ukraine drone attacks 

Drones ranked atop the 22 categories of items Ukraine used crypto donations to purchase – the $11,887,936 total strongly suggesting more expensive military-grade UAVs were procured along with smaller consumer craft. The second highest group was armored vests at nearly $7 million, followed by “specific computer hardware and software” worth $5.7 million. 

All told, Ukraine spent $54.6 million of its total of $60 million in crypto currency donations on drones and other material for the nation’s defense effort

That lift crypto offered Ukraine UAV fleets wasn’t the end of the country’s innovative aerial efforts, with Federov then calling on programmers, coders, and anyone else who knows their way around computing systems to enroll in the Drone Hackathon. 

Doubtless aware that Russian eyes would also read the appeal, Federov’s tweet does not go into detail on the specifics contributions sought from the hackathon for Ukraine’s drone defenses.

“Open call for the first military Drone Hackathon,” Fedorov’s tweet said. “The development of military-tech is our priority for the coming years. State must support startups that produce drones, develop military & cyber solutions. Register via the link until August 23.”

However, the Ukrainian Startup Fund (USF) – one of the co-sponsors – does stipulate that “design engineers, radio engineers, drone operators and programmers who work on Python, Java, R, C++, Tensorflow, or are engaged in Embedded development are invited” to sign up for the hackathon. It says participants will initially be assigned projects to work on remotely ahead of an offline event in Kiyv, August 26 to 29. Like Federov’s tweet, it also provides a link to the sign-up page.

Read: Ukraine forces strike Russian target with FPV kamikaze drone 

And in case the noble cause of aiding Ukraine’s defense against the unprovoked Russian invasion isn’t motivation enough, the USF notes that all “participants of the Drone Hackathon will receive exclusive Drone Army merch, and the winners of the hackathon will receive financial prizes.”

So, now is the time for all good hackers – and crypto donors – to come to the aid of Ukraine and its defensive drone forces.

Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

Load more...
Show More Comments