The US Seizes $2M in its Largest-Ever Move Against Militant Group’s Crypto Fundraising Effort

The US Justice Department has taken down the efforts by the military wing of al Qaeda, Hamas, and Islamic State to raise funds via cryptos through schemes that sold bogus COVID-19 safety equipment to US hospitals.

The agency said they seized about $2 million in the largest ever move by the US against the use of cryptos by militant groups. Authorities confiscated over 300 crypto accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages.

All 150 cryptocurrency accounts used to launder funds were seized, investigators said. The department said in a statement,

“These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency in the terrorism context.”

Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Justice Department were all involved in the investigation to take down the fundraising schemes.

During the probe, the US agents operated an undercover website mirroring a Hamas website for 30 days, said John Demers, head of Justice Department’s national security division.

Using FaceMackCenter.com website, the militant groups peddled the personal protective equipment touted as approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, which in actuality “were not FDA approved,” to first responders, nursing homes, and US hospitals.

Investigators also reported that the payments were collected through US credit cards and PayPal, but the equipment was never delivered.

The Islamic State promoted its scheme via Facebook accounts while AL Qaeda solicited donation for its scheme through the Telegram app.

“Nothing was hidden,” said one U.S. official, “They thought they were protected” by the encryption in the apps they used.

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Author: AnTy

Islamic Expert on Shariah Acceptability: Halal Coin Is Only a Matter Of Time And Awareness

Islamic Expert on Shariah Acceptability: Halal Coin Is Only a Matter Of Time And Awareness

The Islamic financial world has some pretty big differences from its Western counterpart. For instance, in the Islamic regions of the world, the markets have to follow the Shariah, known as the Islamic law. There is not a complete separation between Church and State and this affects the economy as well.

As you may have expected, this obviously affects the crypto market, too. It is because of this that an Islamic expert called Suhaida Mahpot recently talked about the upcoming emergence of the “halal coin”. A halal coin would be a cryptocurrency that is “halal”, meaning that it is accepted by the Shariah standards.

One of the principles that a halal coin would need is to not be used in speculation, for instance. This is partly what makes the situation harder to define, as cryptos are often involved in speculation.

Mahpot, who is the CEO of Amanie Advisors, a Shariah advisory company, affirmed that it is only a matter of time and awareness before the first halal coin appears in the Islamic market. According to him, some investors are very skeptic of the Islamic market because of its own complex rules. This causes uncertainty and some investors simply decide that it will be profitable to invest elsewhere.

This is obviously bad for the countries, as they lose the change of getting investors that could help. Mahpot, which works in the industry for over 11 years, affirmed that Malaysia has a big potential for growth in the future.

Situation With Crypto Is Similar To Other Investments

According to Mahpot, the situation of the crypto market is very similar to two kinds of investments that were introduced in Malaysia before: Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) and Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN).

He explained that the perception of these investments changed over time. They were created during the 90s and they are now considered “harus”, which means that they neither encouraged nor prohibited by the Shariah. Before there was consensus, there were plenty of doubts in the industry whether the investments were harus or “haram” (against the Shariah).

Now, the financial institutions of Muslim countries need more education about how cryptos work. Only this way they will be able to at least declare that they are harus. Without this, the uncertainty will be too big to convince investors to give the investment a shot.

Currency, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are starting to work on the creation of a new cryptocurrency. Also, there are several companies which claim that they have created a fully halal token such as ADAB Solutions, which created the so-called First Islamic Crypto Exchange. So far, nobody actually accepted these tokens as halal.

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Author: Gabriel Machado