Blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis has published a report debunking a number of popular narratives surrounding the use of crypto to finance terrorism. The report emphasizes the harm of false reporting in spreading misinformation and damaging the reputation of firms operating with virtual currencies. As “a trusted investigative partner to governments around the world, preventing terrorists from using cryptocurrency is one of our primary objectives,” Chainalysis states. “It’s a serious task, and it’s important to be responsible and judicious when releasing information on a subject as consequential as terrorism financing.”
Chainalysis cites reports from over the last week claiming that ISIS’s missing $300 million war chest is being held in Bitcoin (BTC). Despite being expressed as a certainty in mainstream reporting, the primary source for the reports, Hans-Jakob Schindler, director of the Counter Extremism Project think-tank, merely suggested that cryptocurrencies “might have been one of the ways [the funds] might have been used.” Apart from highlighting how Schindler’s claims had been beaten up, Chainalysis said that “Schindler’s theory is highly unlikely” in any case.
“We know that most terrorism financing campaigns have raised less than $10,000, indicating limited adoption. Further, if ISIS had funneled oil proceeds into Bitcoin, trading volume of regional exchanges and money service businesses would have reflected this flow of funds.”
The report also notes poorly founded claims that ISIS funded its 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka using Bitcoin, citing Chainalysis’ 2020 Crypto Crime Report in refuting that crypto was used as a means to fund the attacks. However, a separate report from the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research released today, shows the ISIS offshoots in South East Asia have been using crypto for money laundering.
At the start of the year, reports claimed that the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza had raised $24 million through the local money service business Cash4PS. Chainalysis noted significant flaws underpinning the story, asserting that the reports assumed that every single transfer to Cash4PS wallets was related to terror financing without evidence. Further, the majority of funds received by Cash4PS wallets were from other addresses within the Cash4PS network, with Chainalysis estimating that only $1 million was transferred into the network from external sources.
Chinese Citizens Now Allowed To Inherit Cryptocurrency
The Thirteenth National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference has come to an end on May 28. According to Xinhua news, the same day the parliament passed a new civil code; a legislation package that includes protecting the civil rights of inheritance, marriage, property, personality, contract, and infringement.
The new code states: “When a natural person dies, the legacy is the personal legal property left by she/he.” Lixin Yang, a professor of Renmin University of China told China Central Television that this means “internet property and virtual currency will be inherited”. Dovey Wan, founding partner at Primitive Ventures also recently tweeted that Bitcoin users should care more about their
Bitcoin private keys, regardless of the new law. The new inheritance law, which allows China’s citizens to pass on their cryptocurrency and other virtual assets to their heirs, will come into effect on January 1, 2021, according to the report
The Analyst Who Helped Take Down Crypto Child Exploitation Site Honored
Criminal analyst, Kim Reece, has been nominated as a finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for her efforts in shutting down a major child porn site. News of the nomination came on May 28. According to the announcement, Reece’s work led to an international criminal investigation of the largest dark web child pornography site in the world. This site used cryptocurrencies to cloak payments for more than one million video downloads.
This resulted in the arrest of the site’s leader, and more than 330 users. It also led to a coordinated effort with the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom to rescue 25 exploited children. Korean National Police also arrested Jong-Woo, one of the illicit project’s leaders, and seized the server used to run the illegal site.
According to the law enforcement agents behind the investigation, almost 8 TB of child sexual pornography content was seized. Drives contained more than 250,000 videos in total. The site generated profits from the sale of pornographic content using Bitcoin (BTC), with trades completed through a dedicated forum. According to the indictment on March 5, 2018, the site itself boasted over one million downloads by users.
Research indicates that each user received a unique BTC address when they created an account on the site. The platform generated around one million BTC addresses in total. Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director for the US ICE, praised Reece’s nomination, commenting:
“Even more important than this prestigious acknowledgment, however, is her continued dedication and use of her expertise to protect exploited children. The efforts of Ms. Reece and her interagency partners were instrumental to the takedown of this international criminal organization.”
Is There Evidence That Hal Finney Is Not Satoshi?
A tweet from 2010 may provide evidence that Hal Finney is not Satoshi Nakamoto. In a recent interview, Laszlo Hanyecz, who worked closely with Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010, said that Satoshi had no familiarity with the Mac ecosystem:
“He didn’t have a Macintosh. He didn’t know how to build it for Mac.”
Consequently, Satoshi asked him to develop a MacOS version of the Bitcoin client, which he eventually did.
However, a 2010 tweet from Hal Finney tells us that both Finney and his wife owned a Mac:
Although this is by no means incontrovertible evidence, it puts a dent in the theory that Hal Finney was either Satoshi or part of a team behind the pseudonym. However, there are ways to explain this inconsistency. If there were several individuals behind the creation of Bitcoin (BTC), it is possible that Hanyecz only communicated with one of several individuals. Perhaps the person overseeing the development of the client at that stage did not have a Mac.
Another possible explanation is that Satoshi did not believe development for the Mac ecosystem was a top priority, due to its limited market share. He may have therefore decided to delegate this task to Hanyecz so that he could focus on more urgent tasks himself. These theories seem to fall short when we consider that Hanyecz describes Satoshi as someone who was very controlling and borderline paranoid. It seems unlikely that he would delegate the development of the Mac client to an outsider if the team included Hal Finney — a seasoned developer who was likely capable of taking on the task himself.
Hal Finney’s famous tweet about mining Bitcoin also does not make sense in this context.
Satoshi’s writings confirm that the author was very careful to not reveal any personal information about themself. Would this same individual or team member make such a public statement about running Bitcoin? In addition, Finney had years to delete those tweets, but he never did. While this does not help solve the Satoshi mystery, it may allow us to eliminate one of the community’s most popular candidates.
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