Washington D.C. – Exchanges that allow users to convert cryptocurrency into traditional currency are facing scrutiny for hosting white supremacists and neo-Nazis. A recent report from the Anti-Defamation League revealed that many of these exchanges have no policies in place to prevent extremists from using their platforms. The report tracked over $140,000 in extremist financing and raised questions about why these exchanges have not taken stronger action against hosting extremists.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s findings, 15 individual domestic extremists and extremist groups were monitored as they moved cryptocurrency through 22 different exchanges in 2023. Shockingly, only one of these exchanges explicitly prohibited extremist fundraising. The report calls on all exchanges to update their policies and ban extremist financing.
Cryptocurrency has become an attractive tool for domestic extremists due to its anonymity and ease of use. Experts believe that these extremists may be sitting on millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, making it an urgent issue to address.
In response to the rise in extremist activity, Congressional Democrats have proposed a new bill that seeks to make militia activity illegal nationwide. The Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act, introduced by Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Jamie Raskin, aims to outlaw paramilitary activity including patrolling and drilling. This federal law would supplement existing state laws that target these so-called militias.
The legislation comes in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, where militia-style groups played a major role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, was recently found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the insurrection. While all 50 states technically have laws against citizen-run groups engaging in law enforcement activities, these laws are rarely enforced.
The Anti-Defamation League also made headlines with a study showing a significant increase in antisemitic incidents during the last three months of 2023. The study used a broader definition of “antisemitic incidents,” leading to a 360% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. However, the organization faced criticism for not fully explaining their methodology, prompting clarification from a spokesperson.
Antisemitism has been on the rise since the Hamas-Israel war, with New York seeing more than a 200% increase in antisemitic hate crimes from October 2022 to October 2023. The ADL’s study reflects the changing landscape of antisemitism and the impact that anti-Zionist activity is having on the American Jewish community.
As for Jan. 6 insurrection, Florida Proud Boy Gilbert Fonticoba was sentenced to serve 48 months in federal prison for his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The exposure of cryptocurrency exchanges hosting extremists and the proposed legislation against militias highlight the urgent need to address the rise of domestic extremism. The report from the Anti-Defamation League serves as a wake-up call for these exchanges to update their policies and take a stand against hosting extremists. Furthermore, the Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act aims to strengthen national and state laws against militia-style groups. It remains to be seen how these efforts will impact the landscape of cryptocurrency and the fight against extremists in the United States.