An unknown person created and distributed a non-fungible token with the Islamic State terrorist organization’s emblem

WSJ: terrorists begin to use NFTs to spread their ideology and raise funds

05.09.2022 - 12:10


2 min

What’s new? On August 26, an unknown person created and distributed an NFT called “IS-NEWS #01” with the emblem of the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS). The token was not put up for sale but was registered on marketplaces such as Rarible and OpenSea, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing US intelligence officials. According to an OpenSea spokesperson, the platform removed “IS-NEWS #01” from its website and closed the author’s account, citing “a zero-tolerance policy for listings that incite hate and violence.” The token was probably created as an experiment to test a new advocacy and fundraising strategy, officials believe.

The WSJ’s material

What else does the publication report? Mario Cosby, a former federal intelligence analyst, reported that two more IS-linked NFTs were created on August 26. One token depicts an Islamic State fighter teaching students how to make explosives, the other condemns smoking. According to Cosby, “There’s not really anything anyone can do to actually take this NFT down” as “It’s as censorship-proof as you can get.”

Analysts who have studied the “IS-NEWS #01” token believe it is likely an attempt by an IS supporter to see if government restrictions can be circumvented and if legitimate NFT marketplaces will remove the content or limit its availability.

In June, Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) Director Yury Chikhanchin said that cryptocurrencies are used not only for speculation but also to finance terrorism, extremism, and cybercrime. The department already opened dozens of criminal cases jointly with other services. The Russian system “Transparent Blockchain” helps to find and detect illegal activity with cryptocurrencies, which traces the chain from sender to recipient of assets.

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