Sky News reports that a blog post associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has advocated Bitcoin as a means to “enable jihad on a large scale” through the sending “millions of dollars” to fighters.
The post is titled “Bitcoin and the Charity of Violent Physical Struggle”. It discusses how Bitcoin works and how it facilitates the quick movement of funds across borders. Dark Wallet is highlighted as a way of making transactions totally anonymous. Therefore:
“This allows our brothers stuck outside of the ardh Dawlatul-Islam to avoid government taxes along with secretly fund the mujahideen with no legal danger upon them.”
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Indeed, one of Dark Wallet’s founders addressed concerns that his tool can facilitate terrorism and other crimes, his reply was: “Well, yes, bad things are going to happen on these marketplaces…..Liberty is a dangerous thing.”
The financing of terrorism has been highlighted as one of the risks posed by Bitcoin by multiple regulatory bodies around the world. The US Department of Defense stated: “The introduction of virtual currency will likely shape threat finance by increasing the opaqueness, transactional velocity, and overall efficiencies of terrorist attacks.” To date, little such activity has been reported. Other concerns like money laundering for narcotics trafficking have seen more reporting.
Indeed, the increased digitization of fiat money and vigilance by governments against its transfer for terrorist activity had limited the flow of donations. But with Bitcoin, “this system has the potential to revive the lost sunnah of donating to the mujahideen, it is simple, easy, and we ask Allah to hasten it’s usage for us.”
ISIS reportedly obtained only 5% of its financing through donations coming from abroad, the remainder originating from within Iraq itself. They are also reportedly the richest jihadist group in the world, with assets estimated at over $2 billion.