UN Official Reports Terrorist are Used Crypto to Fund Their Activities.
According to Svetlana Martynova, the Countering Financing of Terrorism Coordinator at the United Nations (UN), terrorist groups excluded from the “formal financial system” have turned to crypto to fund their criminal activities.
Abusing New Technologies
During a speech given at the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Special Meeting in New Delhi and Mumbai on Oct. 28-29, the UN official said “new and emerging technologies” were being used by terrorists.
According to Martynova, while cash and hawala — a traditional method of transferring money in Arab and South Asian countries — have been the most common methods of terror financing, she said that they knew terrorists adapt to changes in the environment and as technologies evolved, so did terrorists.
Among these technologies are cryptocurrencies, which Martynova said have created “opportunities for abuse.” She added:
“If they’re excluded from the formal financial system and they want to purchase or invest in something with anonymity, and they’re advanced for that, they’re likely to abuse cryptocurrencies,” she said.
Although emerging technologies can improve human conditions in many places, the harm caused also goes far beyond terror financing, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
“Terrorists and others posing hateful ideologies are abusing new and emerging technologies to spread disinformation, foment discord, recruit and radicalize, mobilize resources and execute attacks.”
Ways to Handle The Issues
In terms of the UN’s plans for dealing with the issue on an international scale, Martynova said that involving nation-states is the main challenge.
“We have very clear global standards from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the resolutions of UNSC,” she explained.
According to Martynova, however, only a few countries have begun to implement regulation, and even fewer are “effectively enforcing that regulation” to deter ill-intentioned non-state actors.
There are some efforts being made at the state level as well. For example, the US Department of the Treasury recently sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash due to concerns about money laundering and cybercrime.