Editor’s update: After being pointed to by CCN’s readers, the original featured image containing al-Qaeda’s flag is now replaced with one containing the Islamic State flag.
Following the recent attacks on Paris, GhostSec, an Anonymous off-shoot which actively hacks ISIS efforts worldwide, said that ISIS regularly uses cryptocurrencies to fund its operations. It offered evidence from September, in which the group believed it had uncovered a single address worth $3 million in bitcoins (which would have appreciated significantly here recently.)
The group had a lot more to say during an interview with a competing outlet, NewsBTC, who beat CCN to the scoop.
The Islamic State does use cryptocurrencies as a form of income to fund their ongoing operations and we have managed to uncover several Bitcoin addresses used by them.
Nevertheless, the interview was compelling evidence that cryptocurrencies are perhaps better suited than anything to provide some degree of security, finality, and integrity to digital transactions. Most importantly, it belies the current murmurs that Bitcoin could potentially become just another tool of financial censorship.
This is not to forgive the funding of terrorism by any means, but to point out that one of the important functions of cryptocurrency is that it cannot be censored by the whims of various figureheads. One never knows what might be next on the agenda. Animal rights activists? Environmentalists? Labor organizers? The list of groups whose finances, in the eyes of the state, might need to be seized or shut off, goes on. As with any liberating technology, Bitcoin helps both objectively benign and objectively horrific agendas along. It is one of several technologies ISIS’ digital arm have utilized to aid their friends in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere. The Internet itself is a tool of terrorism.
All hope is not lost. In chaotic situations, honorable folks still stand out from the huddled, fearful masses. In this case, as regards ISIS/ISIL, it appears we have GhostSec, who in some ways have done more to disable to the neo-Caliphate organization than has the US Government or will the French with their bombs and guns. Getting to the heart of any militant organization’s financing is absolutely the best way to slow them down.
Most of the Bitcoin funding sites utilized by the Islamic State are on the deep web and we have managed to uncover several and successfully shut them down in order to limit the funding extremists receive through the use of cryptocurrencies.
GhostSec should be lauded for their efforts. They even have a site set up where netizens can report ISIL activities for the group to deal with. We live in an interesting time, when citizens feel compelled to stand up and do things the government has passed laws against (except if the government wants to do it) in order to fight truly violent men who appear hell-bent on destabilizing as much of the world as possible.
While most people passively wait for the governments to resolve the crisis, GhostSec has identified the greater of two evils, and actively works to disrupt them. They have incorporated as a self-funded non-profit organization, and have said publicly that any tips should be directed to http://reportonlineterrorism.com.
Image from Wikimedia and Shutterstock.