The Dark Web Sees its First Terrorism Associated Cryptocurrency
Benjamin Strick, who specializes in open-source investigations in international crime, terrorism, and human rights abuses discovered a crowdsourced platform that allows anyone in the world to fund Jihadist projects anonymously.
This platform is named the Sadaqa Platform and any donations can be made using different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Monero, and Ethereum. According to media organization Foreign Affairs, cryptocurrency technologies at present have limited use for terrorist organizations, however, as cryptocurrencies become more available and open for the public, these barriers are expected to fall down.
According to this platform’s website, they want to help Jihadists by creating a crowdsourcing platform to connect organizers of projects to project supporters. It is quite similar to Kickstarter, however, a way worse and dangerous version of it.
The website currently only runs on the dark web and can be only accessed through a tor browser via its onion link. Strick has, however, for understanding purposes given a mirror version of the website that is accessible by the public.
Just like other crowdsourcing platforms, the creator of this Jihadist crowdsourcing website have made it a fast and easy process for donors and supporters. Users will select a project of their interest and then transfer cryptocurrencies of their choice and the platform will handle the entire process.
Since Sadaqa Platform is a new project, they are using the platform to recruit an assistant to help grow the venture. These cryptocurrency donations are to go towards their website, getting an intel laptop, hardware cold wallets to securely store cryptocurrency and translation for the website.
Because it is a new venture, there haven’t been any donations yet. However, Strick is keeping a strict watch on it in order to take action if needed.
In a conversation with BTCmanager Strick noted that while Sadaqa Coin is only the first venture, there are many more to follow.
He also mentioned that other Jihadist groups are accepting cryptocurrency for donations. Some examples that were given are Malhama Tactical, which is a private military contractor to train fighters in the Middle East and Al-Sadaqa which is the mujahideen crowdfunding group behind this project.Strick stated,
All three use Bitcoin as an anonymous way for people in wealthier countries to fund the jihad movement.
However, unlike the other two projects, Sadaqa Coins can host and assist other projects on its platform. An example is a recent project called ‘We Hunt’.
According to its description, We Hunt is,
This project aims at equipping already trained and experienced Snipers with much-needed equipment and resources which will inshaAllah be employed in either training exercises or combat operations in the near future.
While Sadaqa Coins relies on the fact that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous and secure, Strick noted that these transactions are not completely secure and that a donor’s identity can be revealed using open source information.
As per Science Magazine, cryptocurrency transactions are recorded in a public ledger and therefore law enforcement authorities are seeing cryptocurrencies as a tool for prosecuting crime since investigators can follow the money.
In the past, there have been many ways of financing terrorism projects. However, with Sadaqa Coins, there is a rise of dark web marketplaces and cryptocurrency crowdsourcing funds. Also, with the creation of new cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash that provide more anonymity, Foreign Affairs believes that if these currencies provide the privacy and anonymity they promise, it will be a huge tool for terrorist organizations. Regardless, whether the threat may not be so overbearing right now, it is here and the possibility of growth is huge.