The Eye Of The Storm - [Domestic] Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency - Part II – Following In Jihadis’ Footsteps, Neo-Nazis Turn To Cryptocurrency

By: Steven Stalinsky, Ph.D. and R. Sosnow*
July 14, 2022
By: Steven Stalinsky, Ph.D. and R. Sosnow*

Preface By Gen. (Ret.) Michael V. Hayden, Four-Star Air Force General, Former Director Of The National Security Agency (NSA) And Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), And Member Of The MEMRI Board Of Advisors*

This second major study by MEMRI about the use of cryptocurrency by terrorist organizations, which is over two years in the making, focuses on the use of cryptocurrency by the sector that is now a paramount concern of counterterror and intelligence organizations both in the U.S. and worldwide. The report focuses on its use by racially motivated violent extremists, primarily neo-Nazis and white supremacists. In the U.S., their use of cryptocurrency has increased exponentially due to waves of deplatforming by mainstream financial services, including traditional banking, credit card processing, and platforms relied on by online merchants such as PayPal.

This deplatforming, which has driven these extremists and their financial activity increasingly underground, occurred primarily after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, and, even more so, following the January 6 Capitol riot, the organization of which was very likely funded, at least in part, by donations in cryptocurrency.

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While these extremists have been aware of cryptocurrency and using for years, almost since it emerged, they are now not only running fundraising campaigns for their organizations and websites, for recruitment, outreach, and training, and even for legal fees for defendants in court cases and racist mass murderers in prison – they are encouraging each other to use it, through their domestic and international networks; they are educating each other in its use; and they are also amassing huge amounts of cryptocurrency and making profits speculating on it.

Law enforcement and counterterror agencies, in the U.S. and worldwide, need all the information and intelligence they can possibly gather about this phenomenon, which is allowing these extremists free rein to make greater and greater inroads into our society, and threatens to undermine democracy and America.

This report is an important contribution to the understanding of the ways in which neo-Nazis and white supremacists operate in the face of enhanced scrutiny of their financial activities. It is mandatory reading for national security officials.

MEMRI's Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) project and Cyber Jihad Lab are vitally important. I know of no other organization that is producing reports with this level of detail about domestic extremist individuals and entities that use, promote, and share information about this important subject for American security.

* Gen. (Ret.) Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a Four-Star Air Force general, is a member of the MEMRI Board Of Advisors.

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The following report is an abbreviated version, for public release, of a 450-page study that is the culmination of over two years of research. You must be subscribed to the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) to read the full report. Government and media can request a copy by writing to with the report title in the subject line.


Main sections in this report include:


  • The Explosive Growth Of Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Use Of Cryptocurrency

  • Cryptocurrency Is Being Widely Used By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists In Russia-Ukraine War – Possibly Leading To Regulation

  • 2022 Will Be The Year Industry Regulation Increases, As Cryptocurrency Usage By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Grows

  • Coming Very Soon: National Security Disaster As TON Blockchain And Its Toncoin Cryptocurrency Aim For "Mass Adoption" By Telegram's 500 Million+ Monthly Users – Including Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, And Jihadis; MEMRI Again Calls For Telegram CEO Durov To Be Subpoenaed By Congress To Explain His Position On Removing Extremist Content

  • Timeline Of Notable Events In Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Use Of Cryptocurrency

  • Recommendations For Tackling Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Use Of Cryptocurrency

  • List Of Cryptocurrency Addresses Shared By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists For Use Instead Of Traditional Banking, To Sell Merchandise, And To Solicit Donations

  • White Supremacists Are Seeking Out And Using Alternatives To Traditional Banking, Widely Sharing Information On Using Cryptocurrency

  • Cryptocurrency Accepted Here – Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Websites And Companies Sell Merchandise And Solicit Donations In Cryptocurrency


  • List Of Cryptocurrency Addresses Shared By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists For Donations For Training, Activism, Legal Fees, And Supporting Convicted Mass Murderers

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Groups Promote And Use Cryptocurrency

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists – Soliciting And Accepting Cryptocurrency Donations Since 2014

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Fundraise For Training And Activism Using Cryptocurrency

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Fundraise For Legal Fees In Cryptocurrency

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Are Banned From Traditional Banking Platforms, Turn To Cryptocurrency

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Sell Merchandise In Cryptocurrency

  • U.S.-Based Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Websites Recommend Cryptocurrency For Donations


  • List Of Cryptocurrency Addresses Shared By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Internationally And In Australia, Europe, The U.K., Canada, Russia, And Brazil

  • International Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Organizations And Websites Promoting And Using Cryptocurrency

  • European Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • Australian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • U.K. Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • Canadian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • French Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Websites And Telegram Channels Fundraise In Monero, Other Cryptocurrency

  • Russian, Ukrainian, And Belarusian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • Austrian Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • German Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Use And Promote Cryptocurrency

  • Brazilian Telegram Channels Promote Cryptocurrency


The Explosive Growth Of Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Use Of Cryptocurrency


In August 2019, as part of the ongoing work of the MEMRI Cyber Terrorism and Jihad Lab (CJL) project, we published a seminal report, "The Coming Storm – Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency."[1] Since then, this report has been shared with dozens of U.S. and foreign government agencies, as well as with academics and others involved in policymaking who are studying this subject.

This report contained over 250 pages of content relating to terrorist uses of cryptocurrency, including discussions by U.S. and Europe-based jihadis about cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency fundraising, the promotion of cryptocurrency by jihadi and pro-jihad organizations, and more. The report covered groups, organizations, tech companies, state-affiliated media, and individuals from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, including those affiliated with Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and various other terrorist organizations.

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Throughout the year prior to the release of the report, and following its release, MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky and members of the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) research team met numerous times on Capitol Hill and with government agencies about this threat. The report's findings were shared with other governments and officials around the world as well, and used in official reports in the U.S. and across the West.  

According to our research findings, terror groups are heavily promoting and using cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, for fundraising on platforms including Telegram, Twitter, and Instagram. Our report examined discussions on online platforms and dissemination of tutorials on how and why to use cryptocurrency, as well as the sharing of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency addresses, including QR codes, for donating. Many of these groups were also found to be creating dedicated social media accounts, and hashtags for their campaigns, in addition to disseminating slickly designed posters and graphics encouraging readers to use cryptocurrency.

"The Coming Storm" also detailed how prominent jihadi sheikhs, in the Middle East and the West, were promoting cryptocurrencies and depicting them as shari'a-compliant. One example of jihadis using and discussing cryptocurrency in January 2022 was a lengthy article by leading Salafi-jihadi Abu Qatadah Al-Filastini promoting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as legitimate to use from a shari'a point of view, published in a pro-Al-Qaeda women's magazine.[2]

As research for the 2019 report was being carried out it was observed that once these groups became the focus of attention from media and authorities they seemed to disappear, along with their cryptocurrency wallets and addresses – possibly because they were shut down by authorities, because they switched platforms and changed their social media accounts, or because they moved deeper into the Dark Web.

This major MEMRI CJL study was groundbreaking, and has served as authoritative research in the vanguard of this issue, and it was released well over a year before the U.S. government published a report addressing the issue of terrorist use of cryptocurrency, the October 2020 report of the Attorney General's Cyber Digital Task Force on Cryptocurrency – Enforcement Framework, which included a lot of similar content.[3]

Now, three years later, like jihadis, well-known neo-Nazis and white supremacists are discussing and promoting cryptocurrency on social media, and accepting donations and other payments in it. They were early adopters of the technology, and have been using it for the past decade – nearly as long as it has existed. Government authorities could never have imagined the extent to which neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and individuals would adopt cryptocurrency technology in order to facilitate their agendas and activism, and government paid little attention to this issue prior to January 6, 2021.

Since the publication of these research findings, MEMRI has been focusing on the increasing use of cryptocurrencies by domestic terrorists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, both in the U.S. and abroad. While these extremists have been using cryptocurrencies as early as 2012 – when the founder of a major neo-Nazi forum explained that credit card processors would no longer serve the organization and that supporters "can donate in Bitcoin," adding that Bitcoin "is our preferred payment method"– two key events years later precipitated a sharp rise in this use.

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The first of these events was the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, following which many of these extremists were deplatformed by mainstream crowdsourcing platforms such as Patreon and GoFundMe, their credit cards were blocked, and their accounts with online payment providers such as PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay and Google Pay were shut down.

The Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange also took steps to remove some extremist users from its services, including a leading neo-Nazi forum that promotes itself as "the biggest news publication focused on racism and anti-Semitism in human history" and which has been in existence since 2013. This triggered a mass shift to cryptocurrencies, which, as one neo-Nazi explained on a leading neo-Nazi forum, "are secure, instant and anonymous."

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The Unite the Right rally, Charlottesville, VA, August 11, 2017, shouting "Jews will not replace us," "Blood and soil," "White lives matter." Photo and quotes source: The Atlantic, December 23, 2021.

Secondly, following the January 6 events at the Capitol, groups and individuals known to be among the rioters were blocked from mainstream banking and money transfer platforms, including credit cards. Payment platforms such as PayPal and Venmo cut ties with organizations that played a role in the Capitol events.

These groups included the Oath Keepers as well as "GiveSendGo" and "Joy in Liberty," both of which were used to raise and provide funds for people to travel to the rally. Among the individuals blocked was an organizer of the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Capitol riot.

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January 6 at the Capitol. Photo: Tyler Merbler

As criminal elements over the past two years became increasingly dependent on cryptocurrency, so have domestic extremists and terrorists, in the U.S. and worldwide. One report published December 8, 2021 noted that an analysis of hate symbols and commonly used numerical symbols in the Bitcoin blockchain had identified new cryptocurrency wallets associated with neo-Nazis and white supremacists and found at least $8.9 million in cryptocurrency payments to these wallets.[4]

These extremists have been benefiting greatly from the exponential rise in the value of cryptocurrencies, which allow them to raise, transfer and spend money very quickly. Their need for alternative means of conducting transactions is the same as criminals' need for such means.

Cryptocurrencies Keep Neo-Nazis' And White Supremacists' Funds Safe – And Allow Them To Profit Massively

In order to receive and send funds in cryptocurrency, the user must obtain a cryptocurrency wallet, which functions like a cryptocurrency bank account through which users store, pay, and receive funds. They are widely available online, often for free, for desktop and mobile devices. To receive funds, the user generates a cryptocurrency address with the wallet, and shares it with the potential recipient or recipients – that is what the individuals and groups in this report are doing. To send funds, a user simply copies this address and pastes it into their own wallet, fills in the desired amount, and sends.[5]

Cryptocurrencies are used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists not only for reasons of convenience and ideology and because they are being shut out of traditional and mainstream online banking systems, but also because funds in cryptocurrency cannot be accessed or seized by anyone else.

For example, as of October 2021, the neo-Nazi founder of a leading forum had reportedly received at least 112 Bitcoin in donations since January 2017 – worth more than $5.3 million at the time of writing – and has likely raised even more, at the same time he owes more than $18 million in legal judgments in the U.S. to people whom he and his followers harassed and threatened. But he cannot be found and his funds cannot be seized. A former senior policy advisor for the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said that the only recourse was "charges of civil contempt or criminal conviction." She added: "If someone is willing to sit in jail and the money is theirs on the other side because no one can access it, that's a problem."[6] "These people have real assets," said a cybersecurity expert who has been tracking the use of cryptocurrency by these extremist actors since 2017. "People with access to hundreds of thousands of dollars can start doing real damage."[7]

According to a December 8, 2017 report, an investigation based on data that was collected by the Neonaziwallets bot on Twitter, which tracked cryptocurrency transactions in suspected neo-Nazi wallets from August 2017, the month of the Unite the Right rally, to July 2020, found that boom in the value of Bitcoin in early December 2017, to $15,338, had greatly benefited these and other neo-Nazis who had been accepting Bitcoin donations after being forced out of mainstream fundraising services. They included a neo-Nazi publisher, which at that time was found to hold Bitcoin worth over $90,000, and the webmaster of a neo-Nazi forum, who at that time was found to have received over $1 million in Bitcoin. Bitcoin's boom, the report added, would "do little to counter Bitcoin's reputation as a currency for criminals and other undesirable players."[8]

A tweet on total Bitcoin held by a neo-Nazi publisher, May 11, 2020

In This Report: Two Years Of Daily Research Covering Cryptocurrency Activity By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists – From North America Through Western and Eastern Europe To Australia

The following report comprises two years of intensive ongoing daily research by the MEMRI DTTM team, covering the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Eastern and Western Europe including Russia and Ukraine, Australia, and New Zealand. The DTTM monitors daily online activity on a range of platforms – both open and password-protected – noting trends, identifying threats, and alerting authorities where warranted, in over a dozen languages – English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Flemish, and more.

These individuals and organizations are using cryptocurrencies, in addition to soliciting donations and selling merchandise and subscriptions. The head of a U.S.-based terrorist organization – who said on a Europe-based podcast in December 2021 that he had had all his "bank accounts, credit cards, and even retirement accounts in the United States closed," even those of family members, including his wife and his "elderly, retired parents" – detailed what his organization is using cryptocurrencies for. Uses included "travel expenses – i.e. gas money, airfare, lodging"; training, including "specialized equipment"; and "purchasing land for communal bugout locations" for "develop[ment]... into self-sustaining safe havens." He also cited "indirect costs," such as for members whose livelihoods have been "targeted by the System," and those who have "sacrificed their freedom" and "need assistance behind the wire." He added: "Any amount of financial aid which you can provide is an important contribution towards ensuring [the organization] remains a viable network now and into the future..." and lists Monero and Bitcoin addresses.

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Clockwise from left: The organization solicits donations in Monero and Bitcoin, November 2021; Recruitment poster; Soliciting donations for an organization project.

Other uses cited for neo-Nazi and white supremacist donations in cryptocurrency include: paying commissary and other expenses for imprisoned domestic terrorists, including high-profile killers such as Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, by organizations who fundraise for this purpose; to maintain popular neo-Nazi and white supremacist livestreams, podcasts, and websites; to finance cryptocurrency mining projects; and in general, because, in the words of a white supremacist Telegram channel, it is "vital that pro-white dissidents begin to navigate in the world of alternative finance such as crypto!" The most recent use reported is the use of cryptocurrency for online purchases of "ghost guns" – 3D-printed full or partial weapons and accessories, which are legal but untraceable and require no background checks. They were found by the Homeland Security Committee in 2019 to pose a threat to national security because of their appeal to anti-government extremists and terrorists.[9] Many who are interested in buying these weapons congregate on social media platforms that are widely used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and use cryptocurrency to purchase 3D printers and 3D printed parts.[10]

MEMRI DTTM Compilation Video: Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists Discuss Cryptocurrency

The following video is a compilation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists discussing cryptocurrency, including their need to use it after being removed from traditional banking and other financial services. It features neo-Nazi podcasts discussing cryptocurrency; a well-known conspiracy theorist discussing how he lost a laptop with 10,000 Bitcoin on it; a neo-Nazi organization's livestream in which its leader enumerates the platforms from which his group has been removed and saying he hates "Jewish" cryptocurrency but has no choice but to accept it; a leading neo-Nazi who is now in prison selling merchandise and appealing for donations from prison; a leading Australian neo-Nazi soliciting funds in cryptocurrency for the legal defense of another leading Australian neo-Nazi, whom he calls "our closest example of Hitler 2.0"; a neo-Nazi livestream raising funds in cryptocurrency for this Australian's legal defense; and the leader of a U.S.-based anti-government militia discussing the coming economic collapse and cryptocurrency.

This video can only be viewed by DTTM subscribers.

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Cryptocurrency Is Being Widely Used By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists In Russia-Ukraine War – Possibly Leading To Regulation

Russia's launch of its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 was closely followed by activity on Capitol Hill concerning the need to regulate cryptocurrency. This came in the form of President Biden's much-anticipated signing, on March 9, of the "Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets." While one focus of this discussion following the invasion has been Russia's urgent need to cope with severe economic sanctions, there is an addition aspect of this issue – the use of cryptocurrency by neo-Nazis and white supremacists to support extremists in the war.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at a March 2 hearing of the House Financial Services Committee that the Ukraine war "underscored the need for Congressional action on digital finance, including cryptocurrencies." He added: "There isn't in place the kind of regulation framework that needs to be there... What's needed is a framework, in particular, ways to prevent these unbacked cryptocurrencies from serving as a vehicle for terrorist financing..."[11]

House members also stressed this point; at the hearing, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) demanded regulation, saying: "It is past time for all of us to lead on creating a regulatory environment in which we, rather than the world's despots, terrorists, and money launderers, benefit from the emergence of cryptocurrency... It is time for all of us to act."[12]

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Additionally, Senate Banking Committee members underlined the "growing concerns that Russia could use cryptocurrencies to circumvent the broad new sanctions it faces," in a March 2 letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.[13]

However, at a March 10, 2022 hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, FBI director Christopher Wray was asked by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) whether Russia could respond to the economic impact of sanctions placed on it by the U.S. by using cryptocurrency. Wray responded that "the Russians' ability to circumvent the sanctions with cryptocurrency is probably highly overestimated on the part of maybe them and others." He added: "We are, as a community and with our partners overseas, far more effective on that than... they appreciate, and there's a lot of expertise in terms of tools and strategies to help block that kind of effort."[14]

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These and other recent activities culminated, as noted, in President Biden's signing of the executive order outlining the U.S. government's strategy for cryptocurrencies. Described by the White House as the "first whole-of-government strategy" on digital assets,[15] it instructs federal agencies to study the risks of the explosion in popularity of cryptocurrencies and to consider the creation of a U.S. digital currency. Stating that "We must take strong steps," it addresses the national security risks of "illicit" misuse of cryptocurrency, and emphasizes the necessity of "regulation, oversight, [and] law enforcement action."[16]

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However, the order includes no concrete enforcement or regulation policies. Hopes that it would suppress nefarious uses of cryptocurrency were dashed, and some saw it as likely to further delay real action.[17] At the same time, it was welcomed by cryptocurrency advocates – this past year, the industry has been lobbying strongly against aggressive regulation,[18] and the sector's major players have hired scores of former government officials and regulators in its quest to shape policies for governing the market.[19]

The Crisis Shows That Washington Needs To Treat Crypto Regulation As Urgent

Events in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, as they unfold, are shining a light on Washington's misguided thinking that there is no urgency in regulating the crypto industry. The government's early steps on the regulation issue do not adequately take into account the destructive role being played by cryptocurrency in the crisis – and this, once exposed, will be a catalyst in the push for regulation.

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It is important to note that cryptocurrency has been used legitimately throughout the early course of the war, particularly in support of the Ukrainian defense effort; in late February, the Ukrainian government itself tweeted an appeal for donations in Bitcoin and a variety of other currencies.[20] As of March 23, these donations totaled nearly $100 million.[21]

But many who are sending and soliciting crypto donations for a range of purposes in the war have extremist affiliations, including neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and their supporters in the U.S. and globally. Primarily via the encrypted messaging app Telegram, these groups are promoting fundraising campaigns by like-minded groups and paramilitaries in both Russia and Ukraine, soliciting donations in Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, and others – for purchase of military equipment, offering upgraded training, forming special anti-Russian tactical units, supporting members fighting in Ukraine, purchasing military, medicinal, and logistical equipment, and "lifesaving aid."

It quickly became clear that here was the perfect storm of criminal and extremist elements freely using cryptocurrency, and that this cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged and unregulated. The activity in Washington regarding cryptocurrency regulation indicates that the problem's existence is well known – to the extent that on February 17, 2022, at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, in her keynote address, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the creation of the FBI's new Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU). Stating that "the FBI is forming a specialized team dedicated to cryptocurrency," she underlined that the new unit "will combine cryptocurrency experts into one nerve center that can provide equipment, blockchain analysis, virtual asset seizure, and training to the rest of the FBI."[22]

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Neo-Nazi Paramilitary Organizations In Ukraine Fundraise In Cryptocurrency – And Fellow Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Organizations Worldwide Promote Their Fundraising Campaigns

Beginning with the outbreak of the war, Nazi and white supremacist groups and individuals in Ukraine launched fundraising campaigns to support Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitaries. These campaigns were shared as well by likeminded groups throughout Europe, including pan-European groups and groups based in non-combatant states such as the U.S., Poland, and France. Notably, some Belarusian and Russian neo-Nazis called for donations to Ukrainian paramilitaries to help them fight the militaries of their own states.

Extremist organizations in Ukraine are calling for donations in cryptocurrency, and likeminded groups and individuals around the world are promoting these fundraising campaigns as well as running their own. The Ukrainian organizations have shared addresses for donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Solana, and other cryptocurrencies, and the information is being shared widely by other neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, and in Belarus, the U.S., France, Poland, and elsewhere in Europe.

Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Accelerationists, And Antigovernment Extremists Express Concern Over Spring 2022 Crypto Market Crash, With Many Deriding Cryptocurrencies As 'Corrupted' And 'Jewish' While Others Continue To Support It

With the June 2022 crashes of several cryptocurrencies, including a year-to-date drop in value as of June 20, 2022, of around 60 percent for Bitcoin and the $40 billion crashes of cryptocurrencies TerraUSD and Luna, many extremists have derided crypto financing as "compromised" and "Jewish," while others remained optimistic.[23] However, as the market continues to fall, a growing number of extremists have expressed concern over new issues, such as the reliability of exchange platforms like Coinbase, which laid off nearly 20 percent of its staff amid the market collapse.[24]

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Graph showing the fall in the value of Bitcoin from a high of $69,000 on November 9, 2021 to a low of $17,567 on June 17, 2022 (Source:, accessed June 29, 2022)

Expressing Distrust In Cryptocurrencies, Calling For Supporters To Sell Crypto And Buy Metals, Claiming That Cryptocurrencies Are Controlled By Jews And The Deep State

Neo-Nazis and antigovernment extremists online derided cryptocurrencies as untrustworthy and "a joke," as the markets crashed. Extremists posted content referring to crypto markets as controlled by "Jews and chinks," with some even celebrating the market collapse as negatively affecting Jews. Users suggested that individuals invest in more traditional markets, with several individuals suggesting that people invest in metals while others suggested stocks and cash.

On a leading neo-Nazi forum, users discussed investment options amid the crypto collapse, arguing that crypto is better than conventional currencies but that precious metals may be a better investment, making statements such as "[Bitcoin]'s certainly better than the $ £ or Euro, in fact ALL debt-bearing currencies created out of thin air...if you don't trust Bitcoin, then precious metals might be worth considering..."

Some discussed it at length; for example, one user said: "I was open-minded about Crypto but certain things have changed recently... Crypto is no longer viewed as anonymous and out of reach of government prying eyes. This was the whole point of it in the first place so that wealth could be hidden from the Tax authorities," adding that "precious metals are always good tangible assets in these times..."

A user on another neo-Nazi website said that he had previously bought Bitcoin and added that he was "starting to think that crypto as a whole is another kike tool... to keep the goyim reliant on a digital dollar... that they can fully control." He added that it is now monopolized by "Jews and chinks."

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On an anti-government forum, a user asserted that Bitcoin was "Deep State Satanic Marxist dollars." A neo-Nazi channel on Telegram asserted that Jews were concerned over "disappearing shekels."

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Following a quarterly report by the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, Coinbase, stating that if the platform declared bankruptcy users might not recover their crypto assets in full,[25] extremists expressed concern over the news and over cryptocurrency exchanges in general.

2022 Will Be The Year Industry Regulation Increases, As Cryptocurrency Usage By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Grows

Reflecting the growing appeal – and trendiness – of cryptocurrencies, exchange platforms such as Coinbase, FTX, and are heavily marketing cryptocurrencies and signing deals with sports leagues and teams, and even involving celebrities. Actors, athletes, musicians, and influencers – even an astronaut – have formed links to and invested in crypto companies, often becoming official or de facto spokespeople. For example, the face of is now actor Matt Damon.[26]

Additionally, the LGBcoin (LGB standing for "Let's Go Brandon"[27]) announced that it would be the 2022 sponsor of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown;[28] cryptocurrency exchanges and FTX purchased Super Bowl ads for which NBC is reportedly charging as much as $6.5 million for a 30-second spot;[29] and, according to filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart is preparing to create a cryptocurrency, after its October 2021 launch of a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in 200 of its stores.[30] It was even reported, on February 3, 2022, that Coinbase had started a direct deposit system with TurboTax to send state and federal tax refunds to Coinbase accounts, with an option to automatically convert dollars s into cryptocurrency.[31]

A major survey published in July 2021 showed that more than one in 10 Americans had reported purchasing or trading cryptocurrencies in the previous year.[32] As access to and public knowledge about the technology grows, more and more are dabbling in it, and more cryptocurrencies are being created. According to a November 2021 report, there are currently over 7,500 cryptocurrencies in circulation.[33] The lack of regulations and regulatory clarity regarding cryptocurrencies has posed a challenge. Those who are attempting to do something about illicit use of cryptocurrencies, including in government circles and in academia, are only beginning to develop tools to tackle it.

The blockchain data platform Chainalysis stated in its Crypto Crime Report, which is set for release in February 2022, that the total amount collected via cryptocurrency-based crime hit a record high in 2021, totaling $14 billion – a figure that is up 79% from 2020's $7.8 billion. Chainalysis, which states on its website that it creates "transparency for a global economy built on blockchains, enabling banks, business, and governments to have a common understanding of how people use cryptocurrency,"[34] added that that figure for 2021 is likely to grow as it identifies more bad actors and incorporates related data. It also said that the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi), that is, financial services offered on public blockchains, has been a popular way of money laundering and remains a particular threat in the sector. Other experts have said that the Chainalysis report does not capture all the illicit translations, only the ones by actors whom the company has identified as criminal.[35]

Possible future regulation is already under discussion by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. For example, a Christian Fascist channel on Telegram shared a post from a neo-Nazi channel of a May 2021 news article, "U.S. plans cryptocurrency crackdown,"[36] and wrote: "Say bye to Crypto. Once the Government gets its hands on it, it'll be worthless."

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The cryptocurrency industry should be seeking to regulate itself so that it will be subject to less government interference. It can do so, for example, by instituting an organization to establish a "crypto grading system" for "grades" for companies based on the level of use by terrorists and extremists, or by creating a pledge to be taken by companies to make efforts to prevent terrorists, extremists, or criminals from using their currencies and platforms.

U.S. Government Efforts To Regulate Cryptocurrency – And How They May Impact Terrorist Activism

U.S. government moves to tackle the problem of the illicit use of cryptocurrency have started to gain momentum. At a January 2020 House Financial Services Committee meeting, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples said that domestic terrorists had clearly taken cues about using cryptocurrency from groups like Hamas. He added that domestic terror groups would likely increasingly use Bitcoin and other similar currencies. Congressional Research Service finance expert Rena Miller said that as cryptocurrency and awareness of it increased, it would be used more often by white supremacists and other such groups, and Rep. Brad Sherman said, "If it works for Hamas, it will work for the Nazis too."[37]

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However, a year later, in February 2021, a spokesman for the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, said that the company's "compliance programs are... specifically designed to identify and restrict the activities of any bad actors on our platform."[38] Since then, proposals to deal with the problem have emerged rapidly.

U.S. Treasury Secretary and former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said on February 10, 2021 that digital currency-related crimes and cyberattacks were on the rise. Noting that the use of cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes is "a growing problem" and that they "have been a tool to finance terrorism," she added, "We're living amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy."[39] She also said on February 23 about Bitcoin, "To the extent it's used, I fear it's often for illicit finance."[40]

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On May 20, 2021, the Treasury Department announced that it would require any transfer of $10,000 or more to be reported to the IRS. The announcement added that "cryptocurrency already poses a significant detection problem by facilitating illegal activity broadly including tax evasion."[41]

October 2021 saw the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). The NCET will, according to the Justice Department announcement on October 6, "tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors."[42]

Additionally, a six-month Treasury Department review of the U.S. sanctions program, published October 18, 2021, also focused on digital currencies. It noted that "Technological innovations such as digital currencies, alternative payment platforms and new ways of hiding cross-border transactions... offer malign actors opportunities to hold and transfer funds outside the traditional dollar-based financial system."[43]

The "Joint Statement on Crypto-Asset Policy Sprint Initiative and Next Steps" released November 23, 2021 by the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is a "road map" for, inter alia, traditional banks' entrance into crypto markets, the legalities involved, the risks regarding safety and compliance, and the application of laws that already exist. According to the statement, "[t]he emerging crypto-asset sector presents potential opportunities and risks to banking organizations, their customers, and the overall financial system." It said that the agencies will be continuing to develop new standards throughout 2022. Although the statement identified broad areas where regulators had agreed new rules are needed, it included no details about these rules.[44] Nevertheless, this move is very important for cryptocurrency users – both those who want to see its use regulated so that they can proceed with a confidence that they do not now have, and those who are currently using it for illegal, criminal, extremist, and terrorist purposes and are apprehensive about it becoming more regulated.

Interests from across the U.S. political spectrum agree that cryptocurrencies must be regulated and are discussing how to do this. All parties largely agree, as do advocates for the crypto industry, that the current arrangement of state and federal rules covering cryptocurrencies and technologies is unsustainable. As things stand now, the jurisdictions of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Treasury Department, and state agencies all cover parts of the crypto industry, so that companies are not always certain what regulations are applicable and must be complied with. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said that the agency will consider ways it can expand oversight and transparency requirements for crypto issuers and exchanges under its jurisdiction.[45]

At the December 1, 2021 Digital Asset Compliance and Market Integrity Summit in New York, Gensler spoke with his predecessor Jay Clayton, the Republican SEC chairman under President Donald J. Trump. During his tenure, Clayton had said that since cryptocurrencies are "largely" used to raise money for entrepreneurs, they "meet the time-tested definitions of an investment contract and are thus under the securities laws." Gensler expressed the same view to Clayton, quoting his own words. According to The New York Times report on the conversation, this agreement on this issue is "significant because it suggests that many, if not most, crypto issuers are violating the law by failing to register with the SEC and could be subject to enforcement actions.[46]

Over the past year, U.S. federal agencies have been working to regulate the market. A report published in November 2021 by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, on stablecoins – a form of cryptocurrency whose value is fixed to another asset, such as the U.S. dollar or the euro – recommended that Congress should act promptly to ensure that these currencies are subject to appropriate and consistent federal oversight. Underlining the need for establishing an appropriate federal framework and the "significant and growing risks posed by stablecoins," it said that the three agencies are committed to "taking action to address risks falling within each agency's jurisdiction and to continued coordination and collaboration on issues of common interest across the federal financial agencies."

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The report added: "To further prevent misuse of stablecoins and other digital assets by illicit actors, Treasury will continue leading efforts at the FATF to encourage countries to implement international... standards... [and] will also continue to assess the illicit financing risks to the United States associated with stablecoins and other digital assets, including through the National Risk Assessments on Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Proliferation Financing, and Illicit Finance Strategy" that are set to be released to Congress in January 2022. The Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), it added, has taken decisive action when identifying financial institutions that fail to comply with these obligations.[47]

Additionally, on December 6, 2021, CIA Director William Burns acknowledged that the CIA has multiple projects to keep track of cryptocurrencies, and that his predecessor – he did not specify which one – had "set in motion a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency and trying to look at second- and third-order consequences as well and helping with our colleagues in other parts of the U.S. government to provide solid intelligence on what we're seeing."[48]

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A hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee was the first time senior cryptocurrency industry leaders spoke about their companies to U.S. lawmakers. The December 8, 2021 event, titled "Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States," featured top executives from six major cryptocurrency companies, among them Coinbase and Circle; they stressed to lawmakers that the $3 trillion cryptocurrency industry "can make financial transactions faster, less expensive, and more accessible to users around the world," urging Congress to provide clearer rules for it. They also warned that excessive restrictions could push companies to move overseas. Calling for "tailored legislative solutions" for the industry, they warned that the U.S. should not risk "unnecessarily onerous and chilling laws and regulations," according to Coinbase chief executive Alesia Haas.[49]

In a December 14, 2021 hearing, The Committee On Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs held a hearing titled "Stablecoins: How They Work, How Are They Used, and What Are Their Risks?"[50] expert witnesses called for clarity on stablecoins' disclosure and reporting requirements, as issuers are currently regulated mostly at the state level under licensing regimes with different reporting standards. The lack of a federal framework, they said, creates regulatory gaps, particularly as many firms operate across state borders and provide cross-border transactions and remittance services. It has been suggested that a next step could be to strengthen the role of the Office of Financial Research (OFR), as new technologies are integrated into the existing infrastructure of financial services.[51]

On December 23, 2020, the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued proposed rules for "unhosted" cryptocurrency wallets, that is, those not connected to a financial institution, to, inter alia, "require banks and MSBs [money service businesses] to file a report with FinCEN containing certain information related to a customer's CVC [convertible virtual currencies] or LTDA [legal tender digital assets] transaction and counterparty (including name and physical address), and to verify the identity of their customer, if a counterparty to the transaction is using an unhosted or otherwise covered wallet and the transaction [or aggregated transactions within a 24-hour period] is greater than $10,000." The FinCEN added that "malign actors are increasingly using CVC [convertible virtual currencies] to facilitate international terrorist financing, weapons proliferation, sanctions evasion, and transnational money laundering, as well as to buy and sell controlled substances, stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals." Also mentioned were anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies such as Monero as having a "well-documented connection to illicit activity."[52]

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However, on December 27, 2021, President Biden signed into law a $786 billion defense policy bill that excluded language explicitly describing cryptocurrency from the U.S. National Strategy Against Terrorism and Illicit Finance. The bill changes the wording in the "Trend Analysis of Emerging Illicit Finance Threats" section to now refer to "discussion of and data regarding trends in illicit finance, involving evolving forms of value transfer." The language that was removed specifically referred to "cryptocurrencies [and] other methods that are computer, telecommunications, or Internet-based." According to Forbes, this policy position seems to de-emphasize the concern around or targeting of emerging technology.[53]

The Justice Department's new domestic terrorism unit, announced by the agency's National Security division on January 11, 2022, will include a group of attorneys focusing on this threat, as the number of FBI investigations has more than doubled since March 2020.[54]

Most recently, the Federal Reserve announced, on January 20, that it is reviewing the potential benefits and risks of issuing a U.S. digital currency. The currency would be backed by the U.S. central bank, unlike private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. However, while Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said on January 20, "We look forward to engaging with the public, elected representatives, and a broad range of stakeholders as we examine the positives and negatives of a central bank digital currency in the United States," earlier, in September, he had said that the matter would be considered only if officials believed that there were "clear and tangible benefits that outweigh any costs and risks."[55]

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International Efforts To Regulate Cryptocurrency: From The UN To FATF To The EU, All Are Concerned About Illicit Use Of Cryptocurrency

In addition to U.S. federal agencies, international agencies are also concerned about criminals using cryptocurrency. The UN, in February 2021, published a report stating that cryptocurrencies have been used to finance ISIS and Al-Qaeda.[56]

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In the international arena, in June 2021 the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a multilateral organization that sets global guidelines to protect against money laundering and terrorism financing, released its first report on extremist fundraising, highlighting these groups' use of cryptocurrencies and stating that transnational links among such actors are growing. It stated that "similar to their jihadist counterparts, many of these groups have used the internet and social media to share propaganda and recruit ideologically-aligned supporters from around the world. They also may be looking to forge financial links and possibly collaborate in paramilitary or other specialized training... Some of these individuals and groups have travelled to conflict zones to network, recruit, and acquire combat experience." It added: "This trend has posed a challenge for law enforcement or security services which are used to combating ERWT [extreme right wing terrorism] as a domestic threat with few transnational links."[57]

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Following that, in new guidelines released October 28, 2021, the FATF called on governments to expand regulatory oversight of crypto firms and to have these firms implement measures such as confirming customers' identifies and reporting suspicious transactions to regulators. These guidelines do not have the force of law, and would have to be implemented by each country's regulators. However, crypto industry representatives are critical of the guidelines as undermining privacy, stifling innovation, or being impossible to implement.[58]

According to a Forbes assessment for 2022, the Markets In Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation will come into effect in the early part of the year. This regulation will provide a unified legal framework at the European Union level and create more legal clarity for service providers and issuers of crypto assets.[59]

At the same time, some countries have moved to outlaw the use of Bitcoin on their soil. The Central Bank of Russia proposed, on January 20, 2022, a full ban on the usage, mining, and trading of cryptocurrency on Russian territory.[60] In December 2021, it was reported that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed a "general prohibition on all activities by any individual on mining, generating, holding, selling, (or) dealing" in digital currencies as a "medium of exchange, store of value and a unit of account."[61] However, in a reversal, India moved to legalize and regulate it instead, announcing on February 1, 2022 its plans to tax cryptocurrency income and even to roll out its own blockchain-based currency, a digital rupee controlled by the Indian central bank.[62] Also, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged El Salvador, which in September 2021 was the first nation to adopt Bitcoin as legal currency, to stop doing so, saying that it introduces large risks to financial stability.[63]

Current Events Are Showing That Cryptocurrency Is Becoming A Driving Force In Crime And Global Conflicts

Current events are already indicating that cryptocurrency is fast becoming a driving force in global conflicts, with extremist elements very active in them. These include the February 8, 2022 arrest of a couple in New York in their alleged connection with the 2016 hack of the virtual currency exchange Bitfinex that netted $4.5 billion in today's valuation, and the Justice Department's announcement that it had seized over $3.6 billion in digital currency in connection with the hack. The two are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and are alleged to have laundered stolen funds through cryptocurrency transactions.[64] The husband is accused of setting up financial accounts in Russia, and of possessing a portfolio of Russian and Ukrainian male and female "personas," with biographical and identification records; the two allegedly traveled to Ukraine to collect these fake IDs.[65]

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement that "Today's arrests, and the Department's largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals," adding: "In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter the form it takes."[66]

On February 9, the day after the Justice Department announced its seizure of over $3.6 billion in digital currency stolen during the hack, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Rostin Behnam called on Congress to grant his agency the authority to regulate cryptocurrencies. He suggested legislation that would allow the CFTC to regulate cash markets for certain types of cryptocurrencies, and would fund it so that it could conduct additional oversight. This legislation would aim to fill a regulatory gap, as some types of cryptocurrency claim to fall outside the jurisdiction of the federal government's other market regulator, the SEC.[67]

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At the same time, the major lawsuit filed in December 2020 by the SEC against Ripple Labs Inc., which claims that the company violated investor-protection laws when it sold a bitcoin-like digital asset called XRP, is facing complaints in the cryptocurrency sector that Washington is going too far in cracking down on its unregulated products. The suit is one of the highest-profile SEC actions against a cryptocurrency pioneer. Despite the SEC's 2017 guidance, thousands of digital coins have been sold in recent years without regulatory oversight; while the SEC has brought enforcement actions against 56 token issuers, almost all settled with the SEC without going to court, where the SEC's legal arguments could be tested by a judge or jury.[68]

On the international scene, hacker groups and traditional resistance movements in Ukraine are apparently using cryptocurrency more and more to fund their activities and bypass traditional financial platforms. According to reports, donations to groups involved in the conflict with Russia  have totaled several hundred thousand dollars as of early February 2022, with donations increasing by more than 900% in 2021.[69] Additionally, after the Canadian truckers' "Freedom Convoy" raised over $10 million CAD, about $8 million USD, before being shut down by GoFundMe on February 4, 2022, due to reports of violent conduct and the infiltration of the convoy by antigovernment, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist contingents. After the shutdown, convoy organizers took to using two primary crowdfunding methods, GiveSendGo and cryptocurrency.

During this time, on February 15 in a group chat on Telegram affiliated with a violent white supremacist movement, a user shared a long post of financial OPSEC tips that included recommendations to withdraw cash, buy Monero, and generally reduce fiat dependency. He concluded his post by saying: "Bear in mind that all crypto is seeing increased scrutiny now and likely much more in the future." Another user  replied: "I think the 2 best privacy coins are monero and zcash..." and the first added, "Beware FINTRAC and expanded powers."

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"Bear in mind that all crypto is seeing increased scrutiny now and likely much more in the future"; "The 2 best privacy coins are monero and zcash"

Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists' Favored Platforms And Cryptocurrencies – Including PayPal, Buy Me A Coffee, Venmo, And Zelle

The MEMRI DTTM has found that the most well-known platforms to which these extremists are migrating for transferring funds, soliciting donations, and selling merchandise include the U.S.-based PayPal, Buy Me A Coffee, Venmo, and Zelle; the U.S.- and U.K.-based Cash App; the Russia-based QIWI payment system; the Electrum Bitcoin wallet; and the EIDOO cryptocurrency wallet, as well as Amazon gift cards. Some of these platforms, including PayPal, are used for fundraising for training.

With regard to prohibited activities on these platforms, PayPal's terms of use do not specifically discuss criminal or terrorist activity on the part of the user, but does state that users must not "violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation" or use it "in a manner that is defamatory, trade libelous, threatening or harassing." Violators may be subject to limited or closed accounts, temporary freezes of accounts to "protect against the risk of liability," or legal action.[70]

Venmo, which is a digital wallet that is owned by PayPal,[71] bans users from posting or submitting any content that is "false, misleading, deceiving, inaccurate or dishonest," "defamatory or invasive of another person's right of privacy or right of publicity," "harmful, obscene, harassing, abusive, offensive, objectionable, violent or condoning violence or harm, displaying nudity or sexual activity, or otherwise unfit for publication," "inciting hatred of individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, nationality, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity," is "illegal, such a criminal activity, terrorism, obscenity, child pornography, human exploitation, gambling, drug use, firearms or ammunition, and piracy," or that creates "a privacy or security risk to any person."[72]

Buy Me A Coffee states on its website that it is "designed for creators, not for businesses"[73] and that its aim is "to remove all the complexities and give creators a simple way to get paid and connect with their fans," because "advertising model and algorithms have become too unreliable to pay creators what they're worth."[74] It is widely used by these groups and individuals, including because there is no need to create an account to send funds. It also allows those seeking solicitations to set up monthly and yearly memberships for donors. Its terms of service state, inter alia: "Don't break the law – don't take any action that infringes or violates other people's rights, violates the law, or breaches any contract or legal duty you have toward anyone"; "Don't victimize anyone – don't do anything threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, tortious, obscene, profane, or invasive of another person's privacy," and "Don't abuse other users' personal information."[75] The neo-Nazis and white supremacists regularly violate some or violating all of these.

Zelle states in its terms of use that the site may only be used for "lawful purposes" and that "storing, distributing, or transmitting unlawful material could expose you to criminal and/or civil liability." It also states that the user "may not link or otherwise connect our Site or any content on our Site without our prior written permission to do so."

Cash App, for use only in the U.S. and U.K., states on its website that it is "the easiest way to send, spend, bank, and invest," allows users to "pay anyone, instantly.[76] It states, inter alia, that users "will not upload or provide Content or otherwise post, transmit, distribute, or disseminate through the Services any material that: (a) is false, misleading, unlawful, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, defamatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, hateful, abusive, or inflammatory; (b) encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense or gives rise to civil liability; (c) breaches or infringes any duty toward or rights of any person or entity, including rights of publicity, privacy or intellectual property."[77]

The Cyprus- and Russia-based QIWI payment system provides a wallet and can be used in Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia, Jordan, Israel, India, Australia, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Canada, and the U.K. It has no English-language site. Users need only provide a phone number to register.[78] The multi-currency EIDOO wallet allows users to "securely manage 27 cryptocurrencies and tokens."[79] No relevant terms of service for either could be found.

From Heavily Promoting Bitcoin, Leading Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Move To "Heartily Encourage" Monero

MEMRI DTTM research has identified over a dozen cryptocurrencies used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. They include the ubiquitous Bitcoin and the "anonymity enhanced" Monero. The use of Bitcoin, which came on the scene in 2009, was at first heavily promoted by neo-Nazi and white supremacist leaders, however Monero is quickly becoming the cryptocurrency of choice for many of these groups and individuals.

On June 19, 2014, the webmaster of a leading neo-Nazi website  solicited on his blog, writing "I heartily encourage you to consider cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin" to make donations. He included a Bitcoin address with a QR code, as well as addresses for Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin, Zcash, Ripple, and "Monero, which best maintains our privacy (I prefer this most)."

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Prior to the Unite the Right rally, in 2017, a leading white supremacist tweeted that Bitcoin is "the currency of the alt-right."

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The millionaire founder of a leading neo-Nazi forum wrote in his April 2020 guide to using Bitcoin that he had been funding the forum exclusively through bitcoin for four years. He stressed that a "definitive guide [to Bitcoin] is now a necessity, given that I believe you are all going to need to learn how to use it, as it may come in use in our economic collapse situation." As of September 2021, his supporters had reportedly sent him at least $4.8 million in Bitcoin.

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While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use a public ledger system in which transfers are publicly visible, especially if either the sending or receiving party uses an exchange site such as Coinbase that requires "Know Your Customer" (KYC) verification that is aimed at preventing illegal activity, privacy coins – the largest of which is Monero – operate differently. Transactions using Bitcoin are not untraceable – as demonstrated, for example, by the recovery of Bitcoins paid out during the May 2021 Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.[80] Privacy coins work to avoid identification by focusing on improved anonymity. Monero both obscures the digital addresses of those involved in a transaction and hides the value of the transaction.[81]

In January 2018, Bloomberg reported that Bitcoin, previously No. 1 with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, was "losing its luster" with criminals, and that privacy coins such as Monero were now "one of the favorites, if not the favorite" for ransomware attacks.[82] It has now become the favored coin for those involved in illegal activities – including neo-Nazis and white supremacists.[83]

Further proof of the Bloomberg report came a month later, in February 2021, when the founder of a leading neo-Nazi forum published a new guide in which he explained: "Every Bitcoin transfer is visible publicly. Generally, your name is not attached to the address in a direct way, but spies from the various 'woke' anti-freedom organizations have unlimited resources to try to link these transactions to real names. With Monero, the transactions are all hidden." He said that Monero "is really easy. Most importantly, it is safe."

Another prominent neo-Nazi group featured on its podcast in October 19, 2021 an endorsement of Monero; the host encouraged listeners to donate on the website in Monero and added that "Monero is looking good right now." Additionally, a banned racist, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ French website accepts donations only in Monero.

Other cryptocurrencies found to be used widely by neo-Nazis and white supremacists include Lithium, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Cardano, and Zcash. There has even been discussion about creating an "Aryan coin" or a cryptocurrency for whites only.

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An Emerging Trend: The Connection Between Cryptocurrency Funding And Major Extremist Events

While no definitive link between domestic terrorist funding and some major events, such as the January 6 events at the Capitol, can be established, blockchain analysis can shed some light on the matter. For example, Chainalysis showed in late January 2021 that some extremists received funding via cryptocurrency prior to the riot. It said that that "on December 8, 2020, a donor sent 28.15 BTC – worth approximately $522,000 at the time of transfer – to 22 separate addresses in a single transaction... Many of those addresses belong to... activists and internet personalities" including the white nationalist host of an extremist political commentary show on YouTube.

In another example of possible use of cryptocurrency to fund January 6 events, on February 22, 2021 Memorandum for the February 25 House hearing "Dollars against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection," the Committee on Financial Services noted that although it is not known whether Bitcoin was directly used to fund the events, "since it is increasingly common to find cryptocurrency wallet addresses listed on extremist websites, this is a potential and growing source of funds for domestic extremists." The memorandum also stated: "As scrutiny by traditional banks and payment platforms increases, extremists are turning to solicitations of cryptocurrencies. The rise is commensurate with the overall increase in cryptocurrency's popularity..." It also cited other potential illicit finance channels, including crowdfunding, charities, and social media platforms.[84]

During the hearing, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA) said: "The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist networks, drug traffickers, and other illicit activities is well-documented... One example is... the white supremacist platform, The Daily Stormer. They solicit donations from users by cryptocurrency. They use Monero, but there have been high-profile, high-value bitcoin transfers to a number of these U.S.-based groups. These are domestic far-right extremist wallets."[85]

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Coming Very Soon: National Security Disaster As Telegram's TON Blockchain And Its Toncoin Cryptocurrency Aim For "Mass Adoption" By Platform's Telegram's 500 Million+ Monthly Users – Including Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, And Jihadis; MEMRI Again Calls For Telegram CEO Durov To Be Subpoenaed By Congress To Explain His Position On Removing Extremist Content

Since its publication, MEMRI's "The Coming Storm" study has been used to explain the grave security threat posed by Telegram and, later, by its planned blockchain TON and cryptocurrency Gram, in meetings with lawmakers, banks, Treasury Department officials, and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). One of these threats, outlined by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky in an article published by MEMRI in March 2018, is that "nearly 17 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent 9/11 Commission Report recommendations, a Telegram cryptocurrency will shatter all the lessons learned about terrorism financing, and will be used to fund terrorism worldwide."[86]

In early 2018, Telegram announced that it was developing its own blockchain, Telegram Open Network (TON), and cryptocurrency, Gram, and raised $1.7 billion in its initial coin offering in early 2018.[87] Since Telegram was already known to be the heart and soul of cyber jihad, particularly for ISIS, such a move would have allowed these groups, as well as the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other domestic extremists who followed in the jihadis' footsteps and were also now relying on the platform, to gain, at no effort to them, cryptocurrency wallets to be used to very easily send and receive payment, fundraise, finance activities, and more.

However, on October 11, 2019, the SEC formally instructed Telegram to halt sales of its Gram cryptocurrency for failing to register an early sale of $1.7 billion of the crypto tokens prior to the planned October 31, 2019 launch of its TON blockchain, thus putting it in violation of the Securities Act. The advance sale of its tokens, that generated the $1.7 billion, caused concern among regulators and security researchers that the lack of oversight would make Telegram's network appealing to money launderers and drug dealers. The SEC Division of Enforcement wrote in a statement that "we have repeatedly stated that issuers cannot avoid the federal securities laws just by labeling their product a cryptocurrency or a digital token. Telegram seeks to obtain the benefits of a public offering without complying with the long-established disclosure responsibilities designed to protect the investing public."[88]

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SEC announcement of its halt of sales of Gram cryptocurrency, October 11, 2019,

On January 6, 2020, the Telegram Blog published "A Public Notice About the TON Blockchain and Grams," clarifying that the project has been underway since 2017, explaining that Telegram has avoided speaking publicly about the "rumors in the media and speculation about the details of this project," and attempting to clarify "certain aspects of the TON blockchain and Grams" in advance of a successful launch of the project.

Telegram's legal battle with the SEC was not over. On March 24, a federal judge said that the SEC had "shown a substantial likelihood of success" in proving that Telegram had distributed unregistered securities, and granted a preliminary injunction against the company, preventing it from delivering Gram tokens to investors. Telegram filed an appeal, and the TON community said that it had all the tools it needed to proceed with the launch, regardless of what authorities decided.[89]

Although as late as April 2020, Telegram was reiterating that TON would launch by April 2021, on May 12, 2020,[90] it announced that it was abandoning the project. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov wrote on his Telegram channel: "Today is a sad day for us here at Telegram. We are announcing the discontinuation of our blockchain project." He also wrote that "Telegram's active involvement in TON is over."[91] The following month, the SEC announced that it had obtained court approval of settlements with Telegram and TON and that the company had agreed to return over $1.2 billion to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty.[92], January 6, 2020; Durov's post on Telegram explaining "What was TON and Why It Is Over," May 12, 2020,

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SEC announcement of Telegram's agreement to return $1.2 billion to investors and pay $18.5 million penalty, June 26, 2020,

Following that, TON was taken over by the open-source community, and after some jockeying for control of it by two competing groups, in December 2021 Durov endorsed one of the teams. He wrote on Telegram: "I was inspired to see the champions of Telegram's coding contests continue developing the open TON project, which they rebranded to Toncoin... When it comes to scalability and speed, TON is still years ahead of everything else in the blockchain realm." In January, the project was joined by Andrew Rogozov, a vice president at VK, the parent company of Russia's version of Facebook. Rogozov reportedly plans to make Toncoin a crypto project adopted by Telegram's more than 500 million monthly users.[93]

On January 11, 2022, the "TON Community" channel on Telegram announced that "2022 is the year" and that "we're finally at the cusp of something great, something that has eluded all others... mass adoption. The ability for each and every individual – no matter who they are, where they are from, or where they live – to lead an independent financial life, free from discrimination, encumbrance, and impediment... And the vehicle for our mission is The Open Network."[94]

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TON community post on Telegram announcing that "2022 is the year," January 11, 2022,

TON aims to create one single decentralized super-fast network that can connect to every other blockchain, uniting them all into one super-massive chain, writing in its "primer," titled "The Open Network: The next gen network to unite all blockchains and the existing Internet": "Apart from processing millions of transactions per second, TON blockchain-based ecosystem has all the chances to give rise to a genuine Web3.0 Internet with decentralized storage, anonymous network, DNS, instant payments and various decentralized services."[95] The project already has a TON-Ethereum "bridge" that allow Toncoins to be sent to and from the Ethereum blockchain[96] – and that is just the beginning. It is aiming to create a single, decentralized network with super-fast transactions and low fees that's able to connect to every other blockchain, in effect uniting them all into just one, super-massive chain. It was also announced that "the TON blockchain and Donate, a Telegram-verified payments service, have become official partners."[97]

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TON "primer," November 2021,

Telegram appears to have waited to make this announcement until right before Toncoin becomes a reality. It is now more of a national security problem than it ever was before, since, as noted, domestic extremists around the world rely very heavily on Telegram, particularly, as noted in this report, after mass deplatformings from mainstream media, particularly in the U.S. following the August 2017 Unite the Right rally and the January 6 Capitol riot.

As other social media companies, led by Facebook, make tremendous efforts to fight terrorist content online, Durov remains defiant about his platform's popularity among terrorists worldwide. For the sixth year in a row, MEMRI is again calling for Congress to subpoena Durov to explain his position on the hate and terror content on his platform – which has not yet happened.

Recommendations For Tackling Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Use Of Cryptocurrency

The following are MEMRI's recommendations for actions that can be taken to stop neo-Nazi and white supremacist uses of cryptocurrency.

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The MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) – Documenting Cryptocurrency Use By Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists For Nearly Three Years

For nearly three years, the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) research team has been monitoring and documenting the scope of cryptocurrency use by terrorist organizations and their supporters. The DTTM's daily research covers the online activity of U.S.-based, foreign, and international violent extremists, both groups and individuals, including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, accelerationists, and anti-government militias, as well as fascists, in a dozen languages and in countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the early days of social media, companies, particularly Twitter, YouTube, and Google, waited too long to address terrorist usage of their services, and authorities were two steps behind as well. Over the years, MEMRI has worked hard to bring this issue to the attention of companies and legislators, beginning in 2009 with reports jihadi content on YouTube, particularly by Yemeni-American Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki;[98] reports on Twitter beginning in 2011;[99] and reports on Telegram beginning in 2015.[100] Telegram was, at least, stopped from releasing its TON blockchain and Gram cryptocurrency,[101] after the problem of the terrorist content it hosted was brought to the fore.

To prevent the same situation from recurring, social media companies must put into place clear policies banning the use of cryptocurrency and payment platforms by these extremists, and there must be legal repercussions and penalties for companies that do not do so. There is a growing call for these companies to begin to take action against content by terrorist groups around the world, particularly violent neo-Nazis and white supremacists, before the problem becomes even worse.

The concept for this report, "The Eye Of The Storm – [Domestic] Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency – Part II," is based on the major August 2019 MEMRI study "The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrencies," which was two years in the making. That study focused on jihadis' growing use of cryptocurrencies and the threat that this poses. It also documented how these groups and individuals are already extensively fundraising in cryptocurrencies – including for attacks and for weapons and equipment purchases – promoting them and discussing how to use them on various online platforms.

MEMRI has been focused on terrorists online for nearly 15 years, since 2007, when we began researching jihadis. We launched our JTTM project with bipartisan support, with Reps. Mike Pence (R) and Gary Ackerman (D). The same model that we developed and applied to study jihadis applies to domestic terrorists, and the solutions will also be similar.

In This Report: U.S., Foreign, International Neo-Nazi And White Supremacist Individuals, Groups, Social Media Channels Promoting And Using Cryptocurrencies

With the growing threat of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and other domestic terrorism in the U.S. and internationally, the MEMRI DTTM has been documenting how these actors, like jihadis before them, are now increasingly relying on cryptocurrencies. At the same time, scrutiny of their activity is increasing, and they are being increasingly shut out of regular banking and mainstream payment platforms. Even as this report was being completed, in November 2021, we are seeing a broad expansion of the already widespread use of cryptocurrencies by these groups and individuals.

This report will show findings from DTTM monitoring of U.S., foreign, and international neo-Nazi and white supremacist individuals, groups, social media channels, and websites promoting and using a wide range of cryptocurrencies. It details the groups that are using them, the platforms and currencies that are preferred, discussions, criticism, and promotion of the platforms and currencies, the reasons and ideologies behind their use of cryptocurrency, and how they are being used to fundraise for activities, support and legal fees as well as for selling merchandise.

The following report is an abbreviated version, for public release, of a 450-page study that is the culmination of over two years of research. You must be subscribed to the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) to read the full report. Government and media can request a copy by writing to with the report title in the subject line.


[1] MEMRI JTTM report The Coming Storm: Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency, August 21, 2019.

[2] MEMRI JTTM report Pro-Al-Qaeda Women's Magazine Publishes Article On Bitcoin By Jihadi Ideologue Abu Qatadah Al-Filastini, January 6, 2022.

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[27] A phrase insulting President Biden, originating in the mistake of a reporter interviewing NASCAR driver Brandon Brown  following his win in October 2021 at the Talladega Superspeedway. She said the crowd was chanting "Let's Go Brandon" but the actual chant was "F*** Joe Biden." The phrase became widely used by opponents of President Biden and his policies., October 30, 2021.

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[98] For example, MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 576, MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis, Part I – Deleting Online Jihad and the Case of Anwar Al-Awlaki: Nearly Three Million Viewings of Al-Awlaki's YouTube Videos – Included Would-Be Christmas Airplane Bomber, Fort Hood Shooter, 7/7 London Bomber, December 31, 2009.

[101], May 25, 2020.

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The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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