A teenager in Virginia pled guilty to charges of helping ISIS use bitcoin to fund its operations. The tech-savvy teenager admitted to using social media under the handle @Amreekiwitness to provide the terror group with instructions on how to use the cryptocurrency.
Ali Shukri Amin, 17, also offered guidance to Isis supporters seeking to travel to ISIS supporters looking to travel to Syria to fight with the radical Islamist group. This crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Bitcoin and ISIS
ISIS has been drawn to the use of bitcoin to transfer funds between its different locations in order to prevent the money being traced. Bitcoin features anonymous transactions through the use of blockchain and without the need to provide information connected to one’s identity.
Apart from increasing security risks and supporting the terror group, the teenager’s activities also put the cryptocurrency in a negative light once more. Bitcoin has already been having trouble shaking off the negative association with money laundering and criminal activity after its heavy usage in underground market Silk Road.
“Around the nation, we are seeing Isil use social media to reach out from the other side of the world,” said John Carlin, US assistant attorney for national security. “Their messages are reaching America in an attempt to radicalize, recruit and incite our youth and others to support Isil’s violent causes.”
Niknejad was charged on Wednesday in federal court in Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to Isis and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad. Carlin added that parents should monitor online activity of their children in order to prevent more of these incidences from taking place.
“This case serves as a wake-up call that Isil’s propaganda and recruitment materials are in your communities and being viewed by your youth,” the federal prosecutor said.