US authorities have seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency linked to online terrorist financing campaigns involving Hamas, al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The Justice Department says that each group used cryptocurrency and social media to garner attention and raise funds for their terror campaigns.
Hamas's military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, is accused of posting a call on its social media pages and official sites for bitcoin donations, boasting that these would be untraceable. Their websites offered video instruction on how to anonymously make donations, in part by using unique bitcoin addresses generated for each individual donor.
However, the donations were not anonymous, with US officials managing to seize 150 cryptocurrency accounts used for laundering the funds. In addition, the authorities seized the al-Qassam Brigades site infrastructure and operated one to ensnare people donating.
Separately, al-Qaeda and affiliated groups operated a bitcoin money laundering network using Telegram channels and other social media platforms to solicit cryptocurrency donations, says the DoJ.
Finally, the DoJ says an ISIS facilitator called Murat Cakar used a website to sell non-FDA approved N95 respirator masks during the Covid-19 PPE shortage.
“It should not surprise anyone that our enemies use modern technology, social media platforms and cryptocurrency to facilitate their evil and violent agendas,” says Attorney General William Barr. “The Department of Justice will employ all available resources to protect the lives and safety of the American public from terrorist groups."