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$500,000 Bitcoin Donation Prompts Renewed Investigation Into Capitol Hill Riot: Report

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating the funding sources behind the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill rioters.

3 min read
The US Senate. Image: Unsplash

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating the funding sources behind Capitol Hill rioters after a $500,000 transfer worth of Bitcoin has sparked renewed concern, per Yahoo News

This transfer was first identified in December 2020. Since then, an unnamed source told Yahoo News that the transaction—as well as other intelligence—has prompted the government to investigate the origins of funding behind the Capitol Hill rioters.

Yahoo News added that the government reportedly hopes to prevent future attacks like the events which transpired in Washington, D.C. on January 6, while also trying to uncover potential foreign involvement and support for right-wing activities. 

"I'd be stunned if both nation-state adversaries and terrorist organizations weren't figuring out how to funnel money to these guys," a former FBI official also told Yahoo News. "Many of them use fundraising sites (often in Bitcoin) that are virtually unmonitored and unmonitorable. If they weren't doing it, they'd be incompetent." 

Yahoo News also reached out to individuals such as Nick Fuentes—a white nationalist who received part of the donated $500,000 in Bitcoin—but received no replies. 

Fuentes reportedly tweeted an "obscene gesture" that also included the name of a Yahoo News journalist after the request for comment was sent. 

Bitcoin, Capitol Hill, and the far-right

According to Chainalysis research, the $500,000 Bitcoin donation—about 28 Bitcoin at the time—was made on December 8, 2020, by a now-deceased computer programmer in France. 

"I care about what happens after my death. That's why I decided to leave my modest wealth to certain causes and people," he wrote in a suicide letter dated December 9, 2020. 

The funds were transferred to 22 addresses, many of which belonged to activists and personalities affiliated with the far-right. 

Still, this donation only scratches the surface regarding the relationship between Bitcoin and right-wing extremists. 

In July 2021, the Financial Action Task Force—a global financial crime watchdog—published a report that detailed how far-right groups and individuals use cryptocurrencies for their financing needs. 

Brenton Tarrant—the man who carried out the Christchurch mosque shooting in 2019—features in the report alongside far-right groups like the Belgian Schild and Vrienden, as well as the Nordic Resistance Movement. 

Last summer, the Associated Press found that Andrew Anglin—who founded the neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer—received approximately $5 million worth of Bitcoin. He once claimed that Bitcoin financed The Daily Stormer for four years. 

Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency that has appealed to members of the far right. Monero, a privacy coin designed to be anonymous, has also generated attention. 

Jaz Searby, who once led an Australian branch of the far-right group Proud Boys, sought Monero donations to spread his message to a "generation of young Aryan men."

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