A new report claims that Telegram’s new blockchain network could prove to be a haven for organized terror organizations. A report released by Washington, DC-based Middle Eastern Media Research Institute suggests that big terrorist organizations like ISIS, Al-Qaida, Hamas, and Muslim Brotherhood heavily rely on Telegram to conduct coordinated attacks. The social media platform is also used to raise fundings through cryptocurrencies.
Telegram last year raised almost $1.7 billion in an ICO for its blockchain network TON, which is supposed to launch in a few months from now. Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI recently in a blog posted on MEMRI’s website wrote that fear about Facebook’s Libra are overblown while the main threat for criminal activities Telegram is being ignored.
Stalinsky believes with the launch of Telegram’s cryptocurrency terrorists would be able to raise funding more anonymously. HE mentioned that in the current scenario, when a terrorist organization raises fund through bitcoin it could be linked back to exchange or the bank, but with TON people would be able to donate without leaving Telegram.
The report claims that the launch of TONPayments would make it nearly impossible to trace donations made to terror organizations. Terrorist organizations are already increasing the use of cryptocurrencies for their operations, and TON would only help them to get stronger.
The report also found terrorist Telegram channels openly encouraging followers to donate crypto for their movement. A Syrian militant group Hay’ at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) ‘s Telegram channel gave a detailed description of how to safely donate cryptos and also showed a list of terror activities with the amount of donations, for example, a Car Bomb is worth $20,000, and a rocket would cost a $900.
Even though Telegram claims to block terrorist channels but their measures have not proved to be successful as terrorists continue to use the platform for their benefits and with the launch of new technology it would only give them more anonymity.