A recent investigation has shown that terrorist groups have reserves in cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), to finance their activities, managing to raise almost a million dollars. Although the transactions carried out by these groups, in the case of BTC, only represent less than 0.05% of the total BTC traded.
The study was led by Coinbase’s special research team, and led by Heidi Wilder, who was in charge of publishing the results on the platform’s blog.
For the information analysis, the research team relied on data collected by Coinbase Analytics , a section of this platform dedicated to the collection and analysis of data from the blockchains of different cryptocurrencies. The platform allows you to monitor the flow of funds, in this case, from different public addresses, marked as belonging to terrorist groups.
Terrorist groups that use bitcoins and cryptocurrencies
The study determined that a total of four groups terrorists owned cryptocurrencies as part of their forms of financing . These are Al Qaeda, Hamas, ISIS and the Jihadist Activist Movement led by Saudi Arabia. A fifth group, within the Coinbase graph inserted below, identifies the BTC and other cryptocurrencies exchanged by Al Qaeda.
Within this group, Hamas is, by far, the one with the largest amount of cryptocurrencies , totaling almost USD 1 million, in this case only in bitcoin. However, this amount, according to the study, is linked to the fact that this group has requested donations directly in BTC from its web portal and Telegram channels.
The study showed that , in the case of Hamas, it increases its collection volumes in periods of high turbulence within the Palestinian territory in which it operates.
Bitcoin help terrorists?
While they seem like large amounts, data from the Coinbase study reveals that this is only a small fraction of the total mobilized by these groups . In this case, less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions correspond to illegal activities, and of this 1%, 0.05% are linked to terrorism.
A study presented by the portal esglobal, determined that, in 2016, terrorist groups such as Daesh, which operated in Syrian territory, or Al Qaeda itself, had annual revenues of USD 2 billion and USD 250 million, respectively. This through different activities such as drug trafficking and the illegal sale of oil.
In comparison, a Chainalysis report published in May of this year and reported by CriptoNoticias , mentioned that the collection campaigns through cryptocurrencies do not usually exceed USD 10,000 . A very small fraction compared to income from other activities. This study concludes that there is no direct relationship between bitcoin and support for terrorism.