A The US Congressional subcommittee is investigating whether domestic extremists are turning to cryptocurrency as a source of funding for their activities.
On February 25, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy will hold a hearing entitled “Dollars Against Democracy: Financing Domestic Terrorism in the Aftermath of the Insurgency”. A memorandum from the committee ahead of the hearing said that “as control over traditional banks and payment platforms increases, extremists are turning to solicitations for cryptocurrencies.”
The memorandum links cryptocurrencies with other potential avenues for funding illicit activities, including crowdfunding, charities and social media platforms. Two main incidents are used to suggest that crypto may have helped finance the Capitol uprising.
Specifically, on December 8, a French extremist who committed suicide sent 28.15 BTC (worth $ 522,000 at the time of transfer) to 22 addresses, many of which belonged to known far-right activists and to Internet personalities.
More than $ 250,000 of the BTC he sent went to activist Nick Fuentes who was identified as being on Capitol Hill during the uprising, though he expressly denies entering the building.
The other source cited by the memorandum was a live video of the Capitol protest on the video streaming platform Dlive in which the streamer received around $ 222 in cryptocurrency tips. According to the document, the platform has paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars to extremists since its founding.” The platform was bought by the peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent, which in turn is owned by the Tron Foundation.
However, the memo admits that both incidents are circumstantial evidence and that “it is not known whether the funds from these Bitcoin or other transfers were used in the planning and execution of the Jan. 6 Trump rally or the Capitol uprising that followed.
The committee believes that while traditional finance speeds up reporting of suspicious activity, would-be insurgents are likely to turn to non-traditional methods to finance their activities. He added that “some of the arrests related to the January 6 attack” have been successful because of the reporting methods used by banks and other regulated financial institutions.
There is still an important return to the “cryptocurrency is a criminals’ paradise” narrative.
Bitcoin influencer Pierre Rochard replied on Twitter to the note saying that “almost all domestic terrorism happened before Bitcoin was invented.” Domestic terrorism is financed by US dollars. ”
Cryptocurrency investor who bears the title “The Crypto Monk” mentionned that even Pokemon cards would be better for payment than Bitcoin due to the cryptocurrency’s ability to trace funds.
I literally prefer to accept Pokemon cards rather than a distributed ledger.
– The crypto monk ⛩️ (@thecryptomonk) February 23, 2021