Alleged ISIS funding via Bitcoin is rather difficult because of the high transparency of blockchain assets, according to a recent report by Chainalysis. The paper outlines that crypto assets are quite undesirable for terrorist organizations and rebuts recent statements that ISIS might have a $300 million Bitcoin in a war chest.
A “Fact-Checking” Report Says Media Might Have Kind-Of Pad Out The Story
According to the report, media have given too much additional attention to the recent suggestions that terrorist organization ISIS might have about $300 million worth of bitcoin in its war chest.
The allegation started with the director of the think tank Counter Extremism Project, Hans-Jakob Schindler, saying that authorities “have searched for ISIS’s missing war chest since 2017 and that he is wondering if the $300 million has not been found because cryptocurrency “might have been one of the ways it might have been used…”. As Schindler assumed, this could have been the perfect storage mechanism for funds until they are needed. This way, they could be hard to find and seized.
“There Is No Evidence That ISIS Is Storing $300 Million In Bitcoin”
Chainalysis points out that the terrorism-funding theory is unlikely, though not impossible, but on different scales.
“We know that most terrorism financing campaigns have raised less than $10,000, indicating limited adoption. Further, if ISIS had funneled oil proceeds into Bitcoin, trading volume of regional exchanges and money service businesses would have reflected this flow of funds.” – the report reads.
It also adds that “cryptocurrency is also not necessarily the ideal storage mechanism for illicit funds. Unlike cash and other traditional forms of value transfer, cryptocurrency is inherently transparent. Every transaction is recorded in a publicly visible ledger. With the right tools, we can stop bad actors from abusing the system for terrorism financing and other crimes.”
“ISIS Did Not Use Bitcoin To Carry Out The 2019 Easter Sunday Sri Lanka Bombings”
Chainalysis also steps on the alleged crypto-funded Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka in April 2019. They were reported to be carried out by ISIS, collecting funds using CoinPayments, a cryptocurrency payment processor.
The statement has been introduced by a blockchain intelligence firm. It was a conclusion, based on the movement of roughly $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency from one CoinPayments address controlled by ISIS to another shortly before the attacks. The firm also claimed that the balances in CoinPayments’ wallets surged from $500,000 to $4.5 million just one day before the Easter attacks but dropped back to $500,000 right after the attacks took place.
However, Chainalysis suggests that “those findings are likely incorrect and that both the $10,000 transaction and $4 million balance increase were simply internal transactions that are standard practice for a payment processor like CoinPayments.”
Experts from the firm also emphasize that they are working hand-in-hand regularly with users in law enforcement and intelligence to gain even more information on how terrorist organizations manage to finance their activities via cryptocurrency.