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Tron network now a hotbed for terrorist financing: Report

TL;DR

  • A Reuters analysis says that the Tron blockchain network is increasingly being used by terrorist organizations for fund transfers, overtaking Bitcoin due to its faster transactions and lower fees.
  • Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing has intensified efforts to crack down on Tron, seizing 143 wallets linked to terrorist activities between July 2021 and October 2023.
  • Representatives from Tron acknowledge the potential misuse of their technology but maintain that they do not have control over its use by these groups.

Seven experts interviewed by Reuters reveal that Tron has become the preferred cryptocurrency transfer network for groups associated with designated terrorist organizations in Israel, the United States, and other countries. However, this development marks a shift from Bitcoin, which was previously more commonly associated with such activities. According to these financial crime experts and blockchain investigations specialists, Tron’s ease of use and efficiency are key factors contributing to its rising popularity in these circles.

Israel’s response to the growing concern

According to the Reuters analysis, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing (NBCTF) has reported a noticeable increase in the seizure of Tron wallets in recent years. Between July 2021 and October 2023, the NBCTF froze 143 wallets associated with Tronn, believed to be connected to terrorist organizations or used for severe terror crimes. This shift in focus reflects the changing landscape of digital currency use among these groups.

The appeal of the blockchain network for militant organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad arises from its fast transaction times and low fees. Additionally, the stability of the network makes it a more attractive option compared to the more volatile Bitcoin. Tron’s increasing use is also evident in the high number of wallets seized by Israel linked to these groups, with a notable portion of these seizures occurring in 2023.

Concerns and statements from Tron representatives

Representatives of Tron registered in the British Virgin Islands, have commented on the issue, stating that any technology can, in theory, be used for questionable activities. They emphasized that Tron does not have control over those using its technology and distanced the network from the groups identified by Israel. This statement comes amid growing concerns about the misuse of cryptocurrency networks for illicit purposes.

There has been a marked decrease in the seizure of Bitcoin wallets by Israeli authorities, indicating a shift in preference towards Tron by these organizations. This transition can be attributed to the increased capability of law enforcement agencies to trace Bitcoin transactions, prompting groups to seek more anonymous alternatives like Tron.

Iran has also been known to use Tron as a means to bypass U.S. sanctions. According to a report by Reuters, Iranian companies have used Tron for transactions worth $8 billion between 2018 and 2022.

However, it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of money that reaches prohibited groups through cryptocurrency, as it is unclear whether the funds sent to seized wallets were intended for those groups. While the blockchain, a public ledger that supports cryptocurrency, allows for the tracking of the value of crypto transactions and the digital wallet addresses used for them, it is challenging for individuals outside of law enforcement or crypto trading platforms to identify the true identities of those involved in the transactions.

The rise of Tron in this context poses significant challenges for global regulators and law enforcement agencies. The ease of transferring funds across borders using cryptocurrencies makes it difficult to monitor and control the flow of funds to these organizations. The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based body that fights illicit finance, has expressed concerns about the growing popularity of Tether transfers on Tron, highlighting the need for more effective regulatory measures.

Conclusion

The increasing use of the Tron network by groups designated as terrorist organizations underscores the complex relationship between emerging technologies and global security challenges. While blockchain technology offers numerous benefits, its misuse of illicit activities remains a significant concern. 

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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