According to Counter Extremism Project (CEP), an NGO think tank shedding light on businesses and financial activities by extremist groups around the world, ISIS received up to $300 million in crypto donations.
In its April report dubbed Cryptocurrencies as Threats to Public Security and Counter-Terrorism: Risk Analysis and Regulatory Challenges, CEP revealed that terrorist groups now use cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to fund their operations. These funds are obtained via hacking or donations.
CEP’s director and member of UN’s security council on Al-Qaeda and ISIS, Hans-Jakob Schindler, told The National that since 2017 there has been no success with finding the $300 million ISIS is believed to have. Schindler believes it is held in cryptocurrency.
He added that “from the get-go, ISIS has been clearly interested in what can be done with this new technology,” while referring to cryptocurrency.
CEP has been tracking ISIS finances for years. In its report, it cited several examples where Bitcoin was used to finance terrorist operations such as the Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka in 2019, which claimed over 250 lives. An ex-CIA agent has also said previously, that terrorists use crypto.
In 2015, ISIS’s involvement in crypto led it to become the first terrorist group to be officially prosecuted when a teenager, Ali Shukri Amin, was sentenced to prison.
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