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According to a report recently published by the analytical company TRM Labs, ISIS and its supporters across Asia are widely using digital currencies. The platform’s report shows significant links between groups and campaigns to raise funds and use digital currencies by ISIS in various Asian countries, including Syria.
ISIS fundraising with digital currencies
In the past 12 months, major ISIS-linked networks in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia have used cryptocurrencies to facilitate their operations, the company’s report, published on July 21, said. It should be noted that most of these transactions were related to the Tether stablecoin on the Tron network platform.
According to a report published by Tara Annison, former CTO of Elliptic, Tron and Tether are the two most popular assets of criminals whose traces can be seen in most illegal activities. He also noted that over time, cybercriminals will abandon Bitcoin and switch to stablecoins instead.
In addition, Anison added that decentralized exchanges with very high volume and liquidity make it very easy to launder money. In the TRM Labs report, it is mentioned that a large number of ISIS supporters use Indonesian exchanges and through them make transfers to the terrorist group in Syria.
Last year, nearly $517,000 was sent through an Indonesian exchange to ISIS-owned addresses in Syria and local exchanges, the data shows. TRM Labs explained that the campaigns claim that the transferred funds were used to help free the families of ISIS operatives in camps in Syria.
All these transactions have been done in the form of Tether stablecoin and in the TRON network. The company mentioned in its report that in Tajikistan, digital currencies were also used to recruit ISIS-affiliated fighters in Afghanistan. It should be noted that one of these campaigns, which has been active for more than a year, is linked to an address that received more than $2 million in funding in 2022.