Terrorist Groups Are Turning To NFT For Fundraising, According To WSJ
The first documented incidence of a nonfungible token (NFT) generated and disseminated by a “terrorist sympathizer” has emerged, raising fears that the immutability of blockchain technology could aid in propagating terrorist messages and propaganda.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on September 4 that intelligence specialists believe the NFT could be a hint that the Islamic State and other terror organizations are also using blockchain technology to avoid sanctions and raise funding for their terrorist efforts.
Raphael Gluck, the co-founder of the U.S.-based research firm Jihadoscope, allegedly uncovered the NFT in question through pro-ISIS social-media profiles.
The digital token, dubbed “IS-NEWS #01,” is said to be an image of the Islamic State’s symbol with words applauding Afghan-based Islamic militants for hitting a Taliban position.
According to Mario Cosby, a former federal intelligence specialist specializing in blockchain currencies, the user published two more NFTs on Aug 26: one depicting an Islamic State fighter instructing pupils on constructing explosives and the other denouncing smoking cigarettes.
According to the analysts, this could indicate that terrorist organizations are experimenting with new technology to promote their message and test new finance tactics.
“It’s very much an experiment to find ways to make content indestructible,” said Gluck.
The digital token was purportedly advertised on OpenSea; however, the firm promptly removed the listing and terminated the poster’s account, claiming a “zero-tolerance policy on inciting hate and violence.” The trio of NFTs was also purportedly available on the NFT marketplace Rarible and several others before being removed.
While none of the NFTs appeared to have been traded, Cosby was concerned:
“There’s not really anything anyone can do to actually take this NFT down.”
In February, the US Treasury Department released a study highlighting the market expansion for NFTs as a potential source of concern. In March, Israeli investigators confiscated 30 crypto wallets from 12 exchange accounts related to Hamas, a militant organization based in Gaza.
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