Bitcoin fund Capitol riots
Bitcoin,  Politics

Chainalysis asks: Did Bitcoin fund the Capitol riots?

The leading blockchain intelligence firm found $500,000 in Bitcoin transferred to key alt-right members a month before followers stormed the halls of Congress

A month before a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, an extremist sent $522,000 in bitcoin to nearly two dozen far-right leaders, including America First streamer Nick Fuentes and the Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi website.

That’s according to blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, which on Jan. 14 released the results of research that showed 28.15 bitcoins transferred in a single transaction to 22 wallets, all but five of which the firm says are linked to known far-right leaders and groups.

The largest donation, worth nearly $250,000, was sent to Fuentes. Other recipients included anti-immigration group VDARE and Gab, a social network the Southern Poverty Law Center says has a history of hosting white supremacist content.

Fuentes has denied entering the Capitol, tweeting a picture of himself outside the building holding a megaphone.

“While we don’t know if these donations directly funded last week’s violent gathering at the Capitol or any associated activity, the timing certainly warrants suspicion,” Chainalysis said, adding it is “unclear to what degree the attack on the Capitol was planned in advance.”

And even more unclear if those funded by the Bitcoin donation helped plan it.

However, ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news outlet, reported on Jan. 7 that the “Capitol rioters planned for weeks in plain sight” on social media platform Parler, which was ousted from Apple and Google’s app stores and Amazon Web Services in the aftermath of the attack on congress. 

On Jan. 12, The Washington Post reported that the FBI had warned “that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war,’” before the rioters stormed the Capitol.

The report comes at a time when Bitcoin is facing renewed calls for regulation, most recently by European Central Bank President Christine LaGarde. On Jan. 13, Lagarde called for a global crackdown on Bitcoin, saying it has “has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.”

 You May Also Like

Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.