The US Justice Department has recently made an announcement. According to this announcement, federal agents have managed to seize $2 million worth of Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrencies. It’s said that these crypto-assets would’ve been used to finance an array of terrorist organizations, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Hamas organization’s military wing, as well as the Al Qassam Brigades.
Massive Seizure Of Finances
The announcement detailed about 300 cryptocurrency wallets that were held by bank-like institutions having their assets frozen. Alongside this, accounts containing millions of USD worth of cryptocurrency have been blacklisted, as well. The owners of those funds are now incapable of withdrawing these funds. This stands as the first time that the US justice department had ever seized cryptocurrencies as part of counterterrorist finance investigations.
John Demers stands as the Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. On Thursday, he made a public statement about the matter, explaining that today’s actions saw the deprivation of millions of dollars worth of assets to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, and ISIS. According to Demers, this funding would’ve been used to train terrorists and buy weapons.
Working On Old Knowledge
As reported by the New York Times, these accounts were used to solicit funding for their respective activities. It’s said that some of these accounts even managed to solicit funds by way of selling face masks, as well.
Ultimately, what did this group in, was their belief that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and others were untraceable. As such, they did their transactions through that without a care in the world. Consequently, authorities were capable of taking control of the websites that these funds were funneled to, then compiled a list of accounts that were sending donations. Furthermore, Investigators were capable of diverting funds to accounts they themselves control, as well.
The New Age Of Blockchain Forensics
With this undertaking, Demers hopes that it will stand as a testament and deterrent for terrorist financing activities. Demers put the utmost stress on the fact that the tools and technology are now available to identify the faces behind transactions done on blockchain networks.
The day and age of “untraceable” bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are all but over. Blockchain technology’s very nature means that everyone can see those transactions. Now, however, tools and technology are in place for forensic experts to track down the owners of accounts. Anthony Pompliano, the CEO of Morgan Creek Capital, went as far as to say that authorities love it when criminals use Bitcoin, due to how easily it can be tracked.
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