Although paper money remains the preference of terrorist organizations, some are setting their sights on cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin transactions move directly between users without any government or banking intermediary and bring the potential for greater financial efficiency and wider financial inclusion. As some illicit actors try to leverage this new financial technology, there are opportunities for law enforcement to follow their virtual footprints. In his latest op-ed for The Cipher Brief, Yaya Fanusie explains how Bitcoin blockchain challenges the misconceived notion of anonymity associated with cryptocurrencies.
An excerpt from the op-ed follows:
“Terrorist networks cannot easily transact in the formal banking system, so they often employ innovative methods to gain resources. Multiple media outlets that promote al-Qaida or Islamic State (IS) propaganda have asked supporters in recent weeks to send funds to specific bitcoin addresses. In some cases, these have been Salafi Jihadist news websites purportedly seeking donations for site maintenance. But one campaign–still live as of Dec.20–asks for funds to support fighters in Syria.”
Read the complete piece from The Cipher Brief here.
Yaya J. Fanusie is a former CIA analyst and is director of analysis at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. Follow him on Twitter @signcurve.