In recent times, regulators across the globe have concerned about the increasing use of cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes. A recent report highlights the increasing involvement of crypto assets in the world of terrorism.
According to a recent report by TRM Labs, a blockchain analytics firm, terrorist organisations worldwide associated with ISIS, one of the most infamous terrorist group, are using crypto assets on a regular basis. Reportedly, the primary use of cryptocurrencies amid these groups has been found to be fundraising. In some cases, these methods have also helped them to secure supporters.
The analytics firm writes that multiple ISIS supporting groups in Tajikistan have raised around $2 million in Tron-based USDT during 2022. Sources reveal that the primary function has been recruiting fighters for ISIS’s affiliate in Afghanistan, The Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP).
Reportedly, the targeted groups used an unnamed centralized exchange to cash out the funds. Hence, the analytics firm was able to trace the money and notify the exchange. The exchange, in turn, identified the user and reported him to the local authorities.
According to the report, as a result, on June 22, senior ISIS fundraiser Shamil Hukumatov was arrested in Turkey. Simultaneously, the report writes that another pro-ISIS group raised over $517,000 using an account on an Indonesia-based exchange.
The campaign was aimed at freeing ISIS members who are being held in Syrian interment camps. Interestingly, according to TRM, the donations to that campaign often came in quite large amounts, around $10,000 each.
Additionally, the report writes that ISIS affiliates in Pakistan have raised a more modest amount of $40,000 over the past 12 months, pretending to help the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria in February 2023.
The reports stands as a clear example of how terrorist organisations are increasing the use of crypto assets to fund their illicit purposes. However, this hasn’t been away from the eyes of the regulators amid their promises to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations.
Israeli authorities have confiscated around 190 accounts on the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. Sources suggest that authorities suspected these accounts to have ties with terrorist groups such as Hamas and Daesh since 2021.
Simultaneously, global watchdogs have also prioritised actions against terrorism financing and have laid strict guidelines for anti-money laundering and counter of terrorism financing. To this, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), keeps a grey list of countries who don’t adhere these norms.