Brussels Terror Attacks Revive Terrorism-Crypto Connection, Fueling European Push To Control Bitcoin

This week’s terror attacks in Brussels has caused French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to cite the darknet as a terrorist tool and call for measures to improve intelligence expertise in technologies terrorists use, according to a French ministry website.

Because cryptocurrency is used for darknet transactions, efforts to control the darknet could fuel government efforts to control cryptocurrencies in Europe.

Cazeneuve told The National Assembly that terrorists use the darknet. He made his remarks in the context of a wide-ranging discussion about what the government must do to strengthen its counter-terrorism efforts.

Cazeneuve said it is imperative that domestic intelligence achieves the expertise the enemies are using. Intelligence technicians, engineers and analysts need to be able to detect terrorist activities so that human resources can be mobilized when necessary. He said the Internet and social networks must be used effectively in this effort.

Scientist Describes Darknet

Nicolas Arpagian, the scientific director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies of Security and Justice, expanded on the darknet in a Europe 1 news report on Cazeneuve’s remarks. Internet search engines only index a fraction of the pages on the Internet, Arpagian said. The darknet, by contrast, includes non-indexed pages.

The darknet is not easily accessible, Arpagian said. It is necessary to download a particular navigation system like Tor. Tor, the best-known software for this type of navigation, enables a user to preserve anonymity by doing a server-by-server “bounce,” masking the IP address.

Arpagian said darknet pages enable all sorts of transactions using bitcoin, including weapons and drugs.

Arpagian’s take on the darknet differed from Cazaneuve’s. Arpagian does not blame the technology if evil doers utilize it. “The technique will not make the world good, generous and humanist,” he said. If law enforcement were able to shut down the darknet, the users would create a new platform. He said the answer is not available presently.


U.K. Report Confirms Europol

Another report by the HM Treasury Department of the United Kingdom government offered a deduction similar to the one  established by Europol and EU member states.

“There was little evidence to indicate use by established money laundering specialists or that digital currencies played a role in terrorist financing,” the HM Treasury report noted.

Media Connects Terrorist To Bitcoin

Despite these findings, media reports continue to associate terrorist with bitcoin. These concerns support a drive by European regulators to enact stricter control over cryptocurrency.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, G7 nations suspected the Islamic State of using digital currencies to transfer funds secretively.

An Anonymous spin-off group claimed to have evidence linking ISIS to a bitcoin address containing millions in its value in USD. While these claims were later proven to be unfounded, the resulting media coverage put the spotlight firmly on of digital and anonymous currencies.


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