Analysis & Commentary

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...

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...

15th December 2017 - Quoted by Alexandra Ma - Business Insider

A New York woman accused of sending bitcoin to ISIS could spend 90 years in prison

Yaya J. Fanusie

A New York woman charged with sending money to the terrorist group ISIS in the form of bitcoin faces as much as 90 years in prison.

15th December 2017 - FDD's Long War Journal

Long Island woman allegedly used Bitcoin to fund ISIS

Thomas Joscelyn

Zoobia Shahnaz allegedly defrauded financial institutions as part of a scheme to fund the Islamic State. She is also accused of seeking to join the so-called caliphate this past summer. Shahnaz was stopped for questioning at JFK International Airport on July 31, but not arrested until this...

14th December 2017 - Quoted by Mark Niquette - Bloomberg

As Bitcoin Soars, Advocates Seek to Head Off New Restrictions

Yaya J. Fanusie

Bitcoin enthusiasts struck it rich this year as the cryptocurrency surged. Now they’re preparing for battle in Washington to protect their industry’s ascent.

13th October 2017 - Quoted by Renee Picard - Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Russia Advances in Fight With US Over Cybercrime Suspect

Boris Zilberman

On Wednesday, a Greek court showed support for Russia in a US-Russia legal tug-of-war over the alleged mastermind behind a $4 billion bitcoin money-laundering scheme, reported Reuters.

11th October 2017 - Quoted by Joseph Young -

Russian Foreign Ministry Condemns Vinnik Extradition

Boris Zilberman

The Russian Foreign Ministry has condemned the request of the US government to extradite Alexander Vinnik, who has been charged with money laundering in relation to BTC-E and kept in custody by Greek law enforcement agencies.

8th October 2017 - Quoted by Dan Boylan - The Washington Times

U.S., Russia fight over ‘brain’ of bitcoin crime suspect Alexander Vinnik

Boris Zilberman

The alleged Russian mastermind of a $4 billion digital money laundering scheme sits in an Athens prison cell as Washington and Moscow “fight over his brain,” according to international illicit finance analysts.

27th September 2017 - Quoted by Michael Kern - Crypto Insider

With $9.7 trillion of untradeable coal, North Korea turns to bitcoin

Yaya J. Fanusie

Fresh off the news of North Korea claiming that the United States has declared war due to U.S. President Trump’s military positioning and contentious rhetoric, a September 11 report from FireEye has suggested that the DPRK may be mining something other than coal.

25th September 2017 - Quoted by Dan Boylan and Guy Taylor - The Washington Times

North Korean hackers suspected of using bitcoin to undermine U.S. sanctions

North Korea may be turning to the shadowy internet currency bitcoin to get around increasingly intrusive U.S.-led sanctions barring its access to the world banking system and fund its missile and nuclear programs, financial experts warn.

17th August 2017 - Quoted by Dan Boylan - The Washington Times

Pentagon eyes bitcoin blockchain technology as cybersecurity shield

Samantha F. Ravich

Used by terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers, the shadowy online currency bitcoin may soon be drafted by the Pentagon as a way to shield U.S. military technology, communications and purchases.

10th August 2017 - Quoted by Dan Boylan - The Washington Times

Military, intelligence agencies alarmed by surge in bitcoin value in ‘dark web’ fight

Yaya J. Fanusie

The value of the shadowy digital currency known as bitcoin has jumped to record highs this month, sending shock waves through America’s defense and intelligence agencies, which fear its growth signals a surge in use by terrorists, drug kingpins, white-collar criminals and Russian...

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.

17th May 2017 - Quoted by Michael del Castillo - Coindesk

US National Security Advisor: Bitcoin Needs to Be Understood, Not Feared

Yaya J. Fanusie

A think tank that advises several US government agencies is now exploring the potential threats bitcoin poses to national security.

15th December 2016 - Quoted by Leah McGrath Goodman - Newsweek

Bitcoin is Being Monitored by an Increasingly Wary U.S. Government

Yaya J. Fanusie

On a mountainous stretch along the Orange River between South Africa and Namibia lies a small town called Orania, a homeland founded in the 1990s by white nationalists who introduced their own currency, the ora—probably the only tender in the world created exclusively for whites.

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.

28th October 2016 - Quoted by Sarah Tate Chambers - Lawfare

Protections Against Digital Bank Robbers

Yaya J. Fanusie

Bonnie and Clyde are a thing of the past. Bank robberies have declined in the past several years, a function in part of improved security measures. Instead, criminals have turned to robbing banks digitally, resulting in the Federal Reserve and other agencies calling on banks to beef up their...

27th October 2016 - Syndicated

The John Batchelor Show

Boris Zilberman, Jonathan Schanzer, Yaya J. Fanusie

FDD Deputy Director of Congressional Relations, Boris Zilberman, discusses Russia in Syria. FDD's VP for Research Jonathan Schanzer comments on China in Israel and Obama's plans for the PA. Director of Analysis for FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, Yaya Fanusie, talks on Bitcoin...

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...


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