Terrorist Networks Eye Bitcoin as Cryptocurrency’s Price Rises

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Signs are increasing that jihadist groups are looking to capitalize on the rising value of bitcoin, as massive price increases for the cryptocurrency in recent months garner growing public attention. Cold, hard, untraceable cash remains their preferred medium for transmitting funds, but new online activity shows that some jihadist groups are soliciting bitcoins, which can be acquired and spent without any government or banking intermediary.

Terrorist networks cannot easily transact in the formal banking system, so they often employ innovative methods to gain resources. Multiple media outlets that promote al-Qaida or Islamic State (IS) propaganda have asked supporters in recent weeks to send funds to specific bitcoin addresses. In some cases, these have been Salafi Jihadist news websites purportedly seeking donations for site maintenance. But one campaign–still live as of Dec.20–asks for funds to support fighters in Syria.

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