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Analysis & Commentary - Yaya J. Fanusie

Yaya J. Fanusie's Latest Articles

25th March 2018 – CoinDesk

Crypto Investors Should Stay Away from Venezuela’s Petro

Yaya J. Fanusie, Michaela Frai

Venezuela has reportedly made the first state-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, available to the public. Crypto investors should just say no. more...

23rd February 2018 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

To Evade U.S. Sanctions, Venezuela Launches the World’s First National Cryptocurrency

Yaya J. Fanusie, Michaela Frai

This week, the Venezuelan government started selling the “petro,” the world’s first “national cryptocurrency.” The petro’s release is part of the Maduro regime’s strategy to combat the “financial blockade” of U.S. sanctions, yet the petro is likely to find itself just as vulnerable as other financial instruments to U.S. sanctions and market-based disincentives. more...

12th January 2018 – FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Research Memo

Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows into Digital Currency Services

Yaya J. Fanusie

Bitcoin gambling sites, “mixers” and European Bitcoin exchange may be the destinations of choice for criminals looking to launder bitcoins, according to a study issued today by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) and cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic. more...

21st December 2017 – The Cipher Brief

Terrorist Networks Eye Bitcoin as Cryptocurrency’s Price Rises

Yaya J. Fanusie

Although paper money remains the preference of terrorist organizations, some are setting their sights on cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin transactions move directly between users without any government or banking intermediary and bring the potential for greater financial efficiency and wider financial inclusion. more...

10th October 2017 – The National Interest

Hit Hezbollah in the Wallet

Yaya J. Fanusie, Alex Entz

From Latin America to Tehran, there are plenty of steps U.S. policymakers can take today. more...

20th September 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Regulators Struggling to Handle Illicit Finance Risks of Fintech Innovation

Yaya J. Fanusie

Earlier this month, China’s financial authorities issued a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a crowdfunding method through which business ventures raise capital by selling newly-created cryptocurrencies to the public. more...

14th August 2017 – The Hill

Blockchain technology may give Russia its next Sputnik moment

Yaya J. Fanusie, Boris Zilberman

Using blockchain technology, Russia may have just taken a massive leap forward in cryptography that needs more attention. more...

12th July 2017 – Muslim Matters

How To Neutralize The Violent Jihadist Pull

Yaya J. Fanusie

Countering extremists requires shifting how they think more than what they believe. And while religion is central to jihadist narratives, culture is a way more malleable variable that determines how one approaches religion. more...

11th June 2017 – The Cipher Brief

Will A New Generation of Terrorists Turn to Bitcoin?

Yaya J. Fanusie

No, not if by significant you mean signs that multiple terrorist organizations are using virtual currencies as a consistent way to receive or transfer funds. more...

15th May 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance

Terror Finance Briefing Book

Yaya J. Fanusie

The Terror Finance Briefing Book is a product of FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) created to help policymakers better understand how terrorist groups fund their operations so that they may be targeted more effectively. This publication will compile financial assessments of select jihadist organizations in the Middle East and Africa. more...

1st May 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance

Boko Haram Financial Assessment

Yaya J. Fanusie

Boko Haram (“Western education is forbidden”) is reeling under the pressure of Nigerian military operations, but its mobility and relatively low-cost operations in poorly governed territory will likely allow it to mount attacks despite dwindling resources. As Boko Haram is degraded militarily, it may squeeze locals more to provide for the day-to-day livelihood of its militants. more...

24th April 2017 – The Cipher Brief

Hezbollah Fundraising Underscores its Financial Crisis

Yaya J. Fanusie

Hezbollah is ramping up its grassroots fundraising efforts with an intensive online outreach campaign aimed at making its revenue streams more resistant to U.S. pressure. The campaign indicates that Hezbollah – likely on advice from Iran – is seeking more financial autonomy from its Iranian patrons as they struggle under the weight of U.S. sanctions and the costs of military interventions abroad. more...

30th March 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

EU Delists Syrian Tycoon, Highlighting Global Sanctions Pitfalls

Yaya J. Fanusie, Alex Entz

The European Union’s second-highest court nullified sanctions last week on a businessman with Syrian and Russian citizenship for his role in aiding both the Islamic State (IS) and the Assad regime. more...

1st March 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanction and Illicit Finance

Islamic State Financial Assessment

Yaya J. Fanusie

In 2016, Islamic State (IS) likely had revenue in the high hundreds of millions of dollars. IS probably made between $1 and $2 billion in 2015. Indeed, IS is one of the most-funded terrorist organizations of all time. IS derives substantial income from controlling land rather than from outside sources, making interdiction difficult without retaking territory. Its main funding sources have been oil and gas sales, taxes and extortion, and cash stolen from banks. more...

1st December 2016 – The Hill

Blockchain tech is our financial future — America can get ahead of it

Yaya J. Fanusie

It may not have the sexiest of titles, but the new Congressional Blockchain Caucus could not have come at a better time. more...

24th August 2016 – The Cipher Brief

The New Frontier in Terror Fundraising: Bitcoin

Yaya J. Fanusie

When I worked as a counterterrorism analyst for the CIA, I always looked out for signs of terrorist groups adapting their methods. Now, as someone outside of government who analyzes how nefarious groups fund themselves, I am concerned about terrorists using innovative technologies to bolster their finances. And I recently came across a troubling case of terrorist financial innovation. more...

18th July 2016 – FDD Press

Flying Above the Radar

Emanuele Ottolenghi, Annie Fixler , Yaya J. Fanusie

With the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January 2016, most international sanctions against Iran have been lifted. These include long-standing U.S. sanctions against Iran’s aviation sector. The United States has removed all but four Iranian civilian airlines – Caspian Airlines, Mahan Air, Meraj Air, and Pouya Air – from its sanctions lists. more...

22nd June 2016 – Vox

What it’s like to be a Muslim in the CIA

Yaya J. Fanusie

It was the day after the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. I was working as a CIA analyst. I sat in a room with the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, along with several other analysts, as we discussed the attack. more...

17th June 2016 – Forbes

What ISIS Is Banking On

Yaya J. Fanusie

As jihadist groups gain control of cities across the Middle East and Africa, preventing their access to the global financial system is increasingly critical to regulators. more...

29th February 2016 – Quartz

A former CIA analyst explains how tech companies can help fight terrorism

Yaya J. Fanusie

US government officials and political candidates are increasingly criticizing Silicon Valley for not doing enough to prevent terrorists from capitalizing on technology. more...