In the US, a senior member of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies Centre on Sanctions and Illicit Finance has spoken out against anti-crypto rhetoric, particularly those aimed at the financing of Jihads.
A senior member of the center, Yaya Fanusie maintains that despite continual references by governments around the world that cryptocurrency finances terrorist activity, terrorist networks have been mainly unsuccessful in using cryptocurrency to fund their activities.
He recently suggested in a congressional testimony, that cash is still king in the underworld; particularly in the zones that Jihadists operate in, mainly being locations where high tech hasn’t reached or is unavailable. He maintains that, though the nature of Bitcoin may seem suited to illegal activity amongst the groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, they continue to use cash to fund their jihads.
Forbes writer Ted Knutson reveals that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) declared that the use of Bitcoin in terrorist activities between 2015 and 2017 amounted to only about eight bitcoins. The CNAS report released last year revealed that it was purely an anecdotal evidence which continues to back up politicians’ fears of terrorist financing through Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It suggested that attempting to convert fiat to bitcoin may create logistical and security problems of their own for would-be Jihadists.
New legislation and regulation around tightening KYC and AML laws have made the terrorists job even harder with less opportunity to get their bitcoins to where they want them. More sophisticated tracking by exchanges and law enforcement makes any illegal activity even more challenging.
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Lilita Infante says that 10% of Bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity. This is down from 90% of Bitcoin transactions being used for crime in 2013.
Legitimate Bitcoin trading, investing, and use for goods and services has increased dramatically and is outpacing the use of Bitcoin for illegal activity, even though overall, there is much more money being transacted with Bitcoin for illegal activities now than in 2013.
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