Europol Finds No Evidence Linking Bitcoin to Islamic State

News and Analysis

According to a recent report by Europol, the EU top law enforcement agency, there is no evidence to back allegations concerning possible usage of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies by the Islamic State terrorists to fund their activities.

“There is no evidence however of IS-financing networks in existence. Despite third party reporting suggesting the use of anonymous currencies like bitcoin by terrorists to finance their activities, this has not been confirmed by law enforcement,” the report reads.

The document follows the investigation in the wake of the Paris massacre last November. Back then, some government officials, including France’s minister for finance, stated that the terrorists emlpoyed non-regulated payment means to finance the attack. In late 2015, several right-wing representatives at the European Parliament filed a motion calling the EU member states to impose strict regulations on digital currencies or even ban them completely. At the same time, finance ministers of the EU held a meeting to discuss French proposals as to tracking this kind of payments in order to tackle terrorism financing. Eventually they called joint activities in this regard a top priority.

However, also in late 2015, American think tank RAND Corporation financed by the U.S. Military and Homeland Security Agency, issued a report titled “National Security Implications of Virtual Currency” stating that usage of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups was “insignificant”.

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