A new report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, provided exclusively to USA TODAY, reveals that domestic extremists are using major online cryptocurrency exchanges to send and receive money without facing significant resistance. The report highlights the activities of hate groups and their sympathizers, who have been able to use these exchanges to fund extremist organizations and propaganda outlets.
The ADL tracked 15 individuals and organizations that moved cryptocurrency through 22 service providers, including mainstream companies like Binance and Coinbase. The report raises concerns about the lack of policies and regulations in place to prevent extremists from using these platforms to raise funds for their activities.
As other online technology platforms crack down on hate speech and extremist activity, cryptocurrency exchanges have become a safe haven for these groups. The ADL report notes that white supremacists and neo-Nazis are attracted to the idea that cryptocurrency is free from the supposed control of the banking system.
While some exchanges have protections against illegal activities, they do not have specific policies addressing hate speech or extremism. This laissez-faire approach has allowed extremists to continue using these platforms without facing consequences.
Experts warn that tracking and verifying the identities of cryptocurrency account holders can be difficult, making it challenging to determine the extent of funding for extremist activities. Some extremists are reportedly sitting on millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.
Efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry are underway, with some calling for tighter rules and oversight to prevent illicit activities and funding of extremist groups. However, the industry has also launched a push to support crypto-friendly candidates in upcoming elections.
Overall, the rise of cryptocurrency has presented new challenges in fighting extremism and hate, and the ADL is calling for exchanges and regulators to take action to dismantle the financial infrastructure that fuels these groups.