A U.S. Congress Panel is studying whether domestic radicals are turning to cryptocurrencies as a conduit of funding for their operations.
On February 25, the Subcommittee on National Security, International Growth and Monetary Policy will hold a hearing entitled ‘Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Funding in the Wake of Rebellion.’ The pre-hearing memoranda of the Committee reported that ‘as the monitoring of conventional banks and payment channels rises, extremists are turning to cryptocurrency solicitations.
The memorandum lumps bitcoins alongside other possible outlets for facilitating illegal acts, including crowdfunding, foundations, and social networking networks. Two big events are used to indicate that crypto may have helped support the Capitol uprising.
Specifically, on Dec. 8, a French radical who committed suicide sent BTC 28.15 ($522,000 at the time of the transfer) to 22 addresses, all of them belonging to well-known far-right extremists and Internet celebrities.
More than $250,000 of the BTC he sent went to activist Nick Fuentes who was identified as being in the Capitol during the uprising, although he expressly declined to enter the house.
The other source cited in the memorandum was a live video of the Capitol rally on the Dlive video streaming website, in which the streamer earned roughly $222 in cryptocurrency tips. According to the paper, the company has paid ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars to extremists since its inception.’ The platform has been acquired by the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing program, which in turn is owned by the Tron Foundation.
However, the memo admits that the two cases are circumstantial facts and that “it is unknown whether the funds from these Bitcoin transfers or others have been used in the planning and execution of the Trump rally on 6 January or the subsequent Capitol insurrection.”
The Committee assumes that as conventional finance raises the reporting of irregular behavior, potential insurgents are likely to turn to non-traditional means of funding their operations. It added that “some of the arrests related to the Jan. 6 attack” had been successful thanks to the monitoring procedures used by banks and other controlled financial institutions.
There is still a significant push-back to the “cryptocurrency is a criminal haven” narrative.
Bitcoin influencer Pierre Rochard responded to the memo on Twitter saying “almost all domestic terrorism happened before Bitcoin was invented. Domestic terrorism is financed by USD.’
Cryptocurrency investor who goes under the title “The Crypto Monk” said that even Pokemon cards would be better off for payment than Bitcoin because of the cryptocurrency’s ability to track funds.