WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / August 21, 2019 / Today, August 21, 2019, MEMRI released a groundbreaking report on the imminent threat of cryptocurrency use by terrorist groups: The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky. As Mr. Stalinsky writes, “Cryptocurrency has come to terrorism, with an array of terrorist organizations exploiting the anonymity afforded by blockchain technology for fundraising and finances, yet U.S. counterterrorism officials appear to have been slow to grasp the extent the problem.”
Lt.-Gen (ret.) Vincent R. Stewart, former Deputy Commander of the United States Cyber Command and former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director – and now Senior Advisor and Chairman of the MEMRI Board of Advisors – wrote in his preface to the report: “This study is the first significant research of its kind to show the scope of cryptocurrency use by terrorist organizations and their supporters, for fundraising and for financing attacks, purchasing equipment, supporting fighters and their families, and more.” He went on to emphasize this report’s importance for all those involved in counterterrorism efforts: “This landmark study shows undeniably that the future of terrorist funding and fundraising is happening now. The threat is too important to overlook; it must be researched and solutions must be arrived at, and this study is an important step in this direction. It will help educate those involved in the daily work of counterterrorism, and is a must-read for all those in government, the military, and academia who are concerned about this dangerous development.”
Fully credentialed members of media and government agencies may request a full copy of the report from MEDIA@MEMRI.ORG.
The 200-plus page report comprises extensive and exclusive research, both published and not previously released, from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) and Cyber & Jihad Lab Projects over the past two years. This research includes chatter by jihadis based in the West about cryptocurrency, and extensively covers cryptocurrency usage and promotion, especially in fundraising campaigns, by jihadi groups and organizations, from ISIS and Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, including the Syria-based Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).
According to the study, sheikhs, including major Muslim Brotherhood ideologues and leaders associated with Al-Qaeda, are now heavily promoting the use of cryptocurrency, and are reassuring followers that it is indeed shari’a compliant if it is used to support jihad. Additionally, the study finds that Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades – a U.S.-designated Foreign Terror Organization – is among the most active promoters of and users of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for fundraising. These messages are being shared on a variety of platforms, mainly via the encrypted messaging app Telegram, and also via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The publication of The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency is aimed at shedding light on the threat of terrorist use of cryptocurrency and at urging leaders and lawmakers to address it: “More leadership from those working worldwide against terrorist fundraising is urgently needed. It should not take a major terrorist attack planned on an encrypted app and financed with cryptocurrency to get their attention,” says Mr. Stalinsky. He adds: “This is the beginning of an enormous challenge for counterterrorism officials.”
About The Jihad And Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM)
The MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) scrutinizes Islamist terrorism and violent extremism worldwide, focusing especially on activity and threats within and emanating from the Arab world, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran and on attacks and activity in the West inspired and encouraged by the Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other jihad organizations and individuals. This activity includes lone-wolf attacks by jihadis in the West. These threats – whether strategic, tactical, military, conventional, non-conventional, or cyber – may be against national security and public safety in the U.S. and the West, or against these countries’ crucial interests and assets worldwide. It also examines and analyzes the ideological motivations behind these threats, and includes a decade and a half of archives of exclusive content on jihad and terrorism. JTTM translations and analysis are from open-source and password-protected intelligence gathered from sources monitored around the clock. The project maintains the largest archives in the world of this translated content going back to 2001.
About The MEMRI Cyber & Jihad Lab (CJL)
The MEMRI Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, and researches jihadi, secular, and other types of hacktivist groups and activity emanating from the Middle East, Iran, and South Asia, and studies jihadis on social media and online, with a focus on their use of encryption and other technologies. It works with tech companies to help come up with solutions for dealing with jihadis and terrorists online, and with legislatures to help develop laws for tackling this phenomenon. It also assists the business community in matters of cyberattacks and cyber threats from these sources.
MEMRI research and translation efforts on identifying jihadi and hacktivist activity have provided crucial resources to educate policymakers, media organizations, the public, and others. MEMRI asks for your help to continue this important work through tax-deductible donations.
Exploring the Middle East and South Asia through their media, MEMRI bridges the language gap between the West and the Middle East and South Asia, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu-Pashtu, Dari, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends.
Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. MEMRI’s main office is located in Washington, DC, with branch offices in various world capitals. MEMRI research is translated into English, French, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Hebrew.
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