As crypto increases in popularity, it has received a lot of universal praise from those who see it as a worthy competitor to fiat currency as well as the currency of the future. However, there are also concerns and criticisms of cryptocurrency and these became more apparent in 2019 following the announcement of Facebook’s Libra token as well as China’s upcoming national digital token. One of the common concerns is the possible use of cryptocurrency for illegal activities such as money laundering and for terrorism purposes and this ties back into the seamless and borderless nature of cryptocurrency as a concept.
Now, a report by Chainalysis shows that some of the concerns regarding crypto use in tourism might be valid as terrorists seem to be refining their financing options to include cryptocurrency.
The report identifies the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), Hamas’s military arm which is a noted terrorist organization as the first example of an organization using cryptocurrency to finance their terrorist activities. A website was set up for this proposal which generated a new bitcoin address for each donor and also included instructional material about how donors could donate as much as possible while maintaining their anonymity. While others have attempted to raise cryptocurrency for these activities in the past, this campaign raised twice as much money in half as much time which show that crypto is truly becoming more popular within the world of terrorism.
This increase in crypto being used for these purposes around the globe has caught the eye of regulators who have vowed to make use of their power to stop crypto-enabled crime.
“The FATF will make sure that virtual asset service providers do not operate in the dark shadows […] This will enable the emerging FinTech sector to stay one-step ahead of rogue regimes and sympathizers of illicit causes,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Companies within the crypto space have also responded to these reports and have, in many cases, reiterated their dedication to combating crypto crimes alongside the authorities.