The dark side of cryptocurrency which many of us fail to see has been exposed in Delhi. The Delhi Police has recently busted a cyber fraud module that was using cryptocurrency for terror funding.
Crypto theft case | Delhi police investigation has revealed a cyber fraud module transferring Cryptocurrency into the wallets of Al-QassamBrigates, which is a military wing of Hamas.
— ANI (@ANI) January 24, 2022
Cyber fraud module transferred money to Al-Qassam Brigades
The Delhi Police cyber cell has stated that it busted scamsters who stole cryptocurrency from a Delhi-based businessman and transferred it to the wallets of Al-Qassam Brigades, which is the military wing of Hamas. The stolen cryptocurrency is currently valued at Rs. 4 crores.
A complaint was filed in the matter by a businessman in 2019 at the Paschim Vihar police station, alleging that his Bitcoins, Ethereum and other e-wallet currency worth Rs. 30 lakh was transferred fraudulently to unknown accounts.
KPS Malhotra, DCP (Cyber Cell) said, “The cryptocurrencies were routed through various wallets and landed in the suspected wallets. We discovered that one of the wallets, that belongs to the Palestinian origination, has been seized by Israeli authorities for counter-terror financing.”
Some of the currency was transferred to other wallets outside India that were being operated from Giza, Egypt and Ramallah, Palestine.
Rampant use of cryptocurrency for illegal activities
Last year, IANS too reported that cryptocurrency had boosted terror financing.
BK Singh, Retired Joint Commissioner Crime, Delhi Police had reportedly said that cryptocurrencies are typically not regulated by the governments and authorities. So, they are being extensively used by non-State players.
Singh had said, “Why should the value of bitcoins surge? One of the reasons could be the extensive use of this asset form for illegal and criminal activities. The cryptocurrency space must be watched out. At present it is not regulated and this provides an opportunity to terror groups.”
In fact, terrorist organisations have been known to use cryptocurrencies for quite some time. Bahrun Naim, the mastermind of the Jakarta terror attacks in 2016, reportedly used Bitcoin for virtual payment to fund armed elements.
In June 2015, a US teenager admitted that he taught Islamic State members about how to use Bitcoin. Terror groups find it convenient to use cryptocurrency as a ransom payment tool, and the funds raised in cryptocurrency can be later used for financing terror attacks.
Why do terrorist organisations use cryptocurrency?
It is pretty simple actually. Terrorist outfits trade drugs, weapons, and other objectionable commodities on the black market. So, they find it appropriate to use a cryptocurrency that is not routinely regulated.
Cryptocurrencies can become particularly attractive for terrorist groups if their use becomes more common, they add new privacy features and governments continue to avoid regulating them.
People cannot be stopped from using cryptocurrencies. In fact, the use of cryptocurrencies is growing all across the world. India’s cryptocurrency market too is very big. According to an estimate, Indians have invested more than Rs. 6,00,000 crores in the crypto market.
Currently, our country is estimated to be having more than 10 crore investors in cryptocurrency, the highest in the world. So, what India needs is regulation of cryptocurrency.
Presently, there is no law in India that either bans or regulates such digital assets. This makes cryptocurrency a highly decentralised and extremely anonymous financial asset. So, the authorities find it difficult to crackdown on organised crime when cryptocurrency is used.
Cryptocurrency is the buzzword in the tech sector today. But there is a dark side to it that many fail to see.