Chainalysis Traces $522,000 Extremist Bitcoin Donation

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  • Chainalysis has traced a $522,000 Bitcoin donation to various U.S. alt right groups sent from a French exchange in December
  • The 28.15 donation was split between 22 recipients, with Nick Fuentes being the largest beneficiary
  • Chainalysis has identified the individual, illustrating that Bitcoin donations are not private and can be traced

Chainalysis has put to bed long standing accusations that Bitcoin transactions cannot be traced by identifying the flow of a large Bitcoin donation to alt right groups in the US last year. However, in doing so they have also reinforced the notion that terrorists are turning toward cryptocurrencies as a means of alternative fundraising, although domestic terrorism was probably not what purveyors of this idea had in mind when they warned about it.

Chainalysis Reveals Nick Fuentes as Main Recipient

Chainalysis revealed in a blog post on Thursday that 22 alt-right personalities and groups received a cut of a single 28.15 Bitcoin donation made on December 8, worth $522,000 at the time. Chainalysis decided to investigate the donation and try to identify the donor, starting with working out how the donation was split:

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Source: Chainlaysis

As the data shows, Nick Fuentes, an extremist agitator who was at the rally but has denied entering the building, was by some margin the biggest recipient of Bitcoin donations, scooping up 45% worth approximately $250,000.

Chainlaysis were able to trace the transaction back to a French exchange, which was a surprise given the fact that U.S. individuals and groups were the primary recipients. They were also able to uncover the pseudo-identity of the individual:

Using open-source intelligence, we discovered one BTC address associated with the Extremist Legacy Wallet is registered on NameID, a service that allows users to associate their online identity, email address, and other information with their Bitcoin address. In this case, the extremist donor associated his Bitcoin address with the pseudonym “pankkake.”

Chainalysis were able to dig further on the donor, positively linking him to a personal blog via his email address, uncovering a disturbing history of right-wing extremism and intentions of suicide.

Deplatforming Could Lead to More Cryptocurrency Donations

In a tweet thread summarizing the report, Chainalysis says that their investigations suggest that “domestic extremists may be raising more than previously thought” and that the ongoing deplatforming might drive them underground and may mean they “turn more to cryptocurrency for donations.”

European Central Bank President Christene Lagarde warned just this week that Bitcoin was being used for “totally reprehensible” activity in her call for global regulation.