A research by Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows that terrorist groups are using social media platform Telegram to raise funds in cryptocurrencies. These terror organizations include ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The report also says that with the launch of Telegram blockchain TON and its coin Gram, these organizations will be able to raise funds more anonymously.
The report claims that terrorists are using Telegram for recruitment, outreach, posting announcements, and various activities. Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Monero, Verge, and Zcash are among the top cryptocurrencies used by terrorists. Terrorist groups regularly publish their bitcoin addresses and tutorials on how to donate in cryptocurrencies without being noticed by authorities.
Hamas’s military wing Al-Qassam Brigades is heavily promoting the use of cryptocurrencies among its followers via Telegram, Twitter and Instagram. The full 250 pages report will be published later by MEMRI. Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI last month in wrote in a blog that authorities all over the world are ignoring terror activities on Telegram. Last year the encrypted messaging app raised over $1.7 billion in private ICO for its coin Gram.
TON would make it easier for the terror organizations to raise cryptocurrency as followers would be able to donate without leaving the messaging app. As the use of cryptocurrency is rising, it is becoming challenging for the authorities to fight terror financing and money laundering because of the extra layer of secrecy that technology provides.