Bitcoins to finance terrorist networks

During a public conference held in early January, officials from the PPATK (Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan) – an independent agency created in 2002 to track money-laundering activities in Indonesia – stated that the Islamic State is strongly suspected of financing its operations through bitcoin platforms and PayPal online services. Yvan Yustiavandana, research director at PPATK, declared that terrorist groups seem to favour modern and sophisticated online payment instruments, probably because transactions made through those channels are more difficult to track and almost anonymous.

The Indonesian authorities have found evidence that Bahrun Naim, leader of a regional group affiliated to the Islamic State and the alleged perpetrator of a terrorist attack in Jakarta in 2016, exploited digital currencies to transfer money to other members.

Even the European Union is currently debating on introducing stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoins, as they seem to be mostly used for illegal transactions.

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