Report: ISIS-tied blogger claims bitcoin could "enable jihad"

Home » Report: ISIS-tied blogger claims bitcoin could "enable jihad"
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duyhoa_dao/

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/duyhoa_dao/

Sky News reported today that a publication linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recently published a blog post entitled “Bitcoin and the Charity of Violent Physical Struggle” about the use of cryptocurrency in the global jihad. According to the article, the unnamed author claims that bitcoin is “untrackable” by Western governments, and would allow jihadist organizations to operate without fears of having their assets seized by international banks.

The Sky News report quotes the article as saying: “This system has the potential to revive the lost sunnah of donating to the mujahideen, it is simple, easy, and we ask Allah to hasten its usage for us.” The article is also said to mention the anonymity-focused Dark Wallet project.

The article’s conclusions stand in stark contrast to those of the U.S. Treasury Department, which thoroughly investigated the matter earlier this year. According to David S. Cohen, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence: “Terrorists generally need ‘real’ currency, not virtual currency, to pay their expenses -– such as salaries, bribes, weapons, travel, and safe houses.”

It’s unclear what official relationship, if any, the blog post’s author actually has with ISIS or related jihadist movements. The Sky News story did not include a link to the original post or include the name or other details of the source website. Any source corroborating Sky News‘ coverage, or even the existence of the source article, has yet to surface, prompting some on Reddit and other forums to suspect that the piece is more about smearing bitcoin than the use of cryptocurrency by Islamic fundamentalist movements. Sky News claims that the original article’s authors had plans to launch a print publication, but that this was “superseded by an official magazine called Islamic State News.” As such, any connection between the authors, ISIS and bitcoin is tenuous at best.

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