JIHADI networks are using virtual currencies like Bitcoin to “crowdfund” for propaganda campaigns, euro MPS have been warned.
Experts told the EU Parliament that groups including ISIS and Al Qaeda are starting to exploit the online money, which is largely anonymous.
Getty – Contributor Bitcoin is being used to fund global terror through Isis and Al Qaeda, MEPs were told
Far-right groups including Neo Nazis are also turning to cryptocurrencies as a way of undermining the traditional financial system.
The dire warning came as experts from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) briefed MEPs about the threat of virtual money this evening.
They said that whilst its use by terrorist groups is currently sporadic, it could grow in the future as such currencies become more widely used.
In particular jihadis could use the digital money to get hold of documents on the dark web that they need to carry out attacks, such as forged passports.
East2west News Far-right groups are turning to use crypocurrencies to get around the system
RUSI associate fellow David Carlisle said: “We’ve seen some evidence of low scale use of Bitcoin in crowdfunding efforts to raise funds as part of propaganda campaigns or facilitation activities on behalf of larger terrorist groups.
“There’s an awareness among law enforcement that a number factors could work to shape the risk over time and potentially see it accelerate.
“The simplest factor that’s likely to influence the manner in which terrorists might adopt cryptocurrencies is if it becomes possible to use them in more and more types of transactions.
“I think we’d probably expect to see the incidence of terrorist financing using them increase.”
He added: “Jihadist networks are very reliant on the use of forged documents and you can obtain things like forged passports on the dark web.
“While there’s not a lot of concrete evidence of jihadists using the dark web to obtain those types of materials there’s certainly a lot of concern among law enforcement that that’s a real possibility.
“A lone actor might find that sort of a forum and the use of cryptocurrencies on a platform like that in a manner that could allow them to evade law enforcement detection as quite useful.”
AP:Associated Press Experts said that jihadists and other terrorists could get around the law more easily using Bitcoin