The cryptocurrency bitcoin rose over 1,400 percent after surging on Thursday above $17,000. And, according to Mic, that epic rally could wind up benefiting a group who’s otherwise faced a rough year in the web currency sector: Neo-Nazis.
In August, Apple Pay, PayPal and GoFundMe joined a chorus of tech companies cutting off known white supremacists after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. But bitcoin, which allows anonymous users to move currency, remains a viable avenue for neo-Nazis to transfer money without working through centralized banks. Richard Spencer once even referred to bitcoin as the “currency of the alt-right.”
And, according to Mic, as the bitcoin price grows, so do their wallets.
To investigate bitcoin use among white supremacists, Mic analyzed the transactions revealed by the bot Twitter account @NeonaziWallets, “an automated feed of bitcoin transactions involving suspected neo-Nazi or alt-right extremist wallets.” The bot is able to gather information on suspected alt-righters because in order to accept donations, organizations and users have to publicize their bitcoin addresses.
Richard Spencer wallet report. Rec: 0.1234 BTC ~$1,873.16 USD, Spent: 0.0000 BTC ~$0, Bal: 0.1234 BTC ~$1,873.16.— Neonazi BTC Tracker (@Neonazi BTC Tracker) 1512755280.0
Radio Aryan wallet report. Rec: 0.1377 BTC ~$2,090.24 USD, Spent: 0.1353 BTC ~$2,053.05, Bal: 0.0024 BTC ~$37.19.— Neonazi BTC Tracker (@Neonazi BTC Tracker) 1512755279.0
Vanguard America wallet report. Rec: 0.0500 BTC ~$758.76 USD, Spent: 0.0000 BTC ~$0, Bal: NaN BTC ~$NaN.— Neonazi BTC Tracker (@Neonazi BTC Tracker) 1512755239.0
“The disadvantage [for neo-Nazis] is that I can see their transactions, I can see when they’re spending money, and given effort and investment of time, I could figure out who is donating to them also,” John Bambenek, the bot’s creator, told Mic.
White supremacists have a vested interest in using the anonymous cryptocurrency, given the swift backlash from other companies following the Charlottesville rally. But with no end in sight for bitcoin’s meteoric rise, the resulting pile of cash will no-doubt assuage concerns over having those transactions identified.