It was one of the most repeated news stories of the week: the terrorist group Islamic State is said to have started financing itself thanks to its non-fungible tokens (NFT). In fact, this is far from the case. We look at this fine example of FUD, unfortunately common in the world of cryptocurrencies.
The Islamic State does not fund itself with NFTs
The crypto community is now used to it: when it comes to blockchain, mainstream media often connect quickly with terrorism and money laundering. Sometimes with a certain lack of discernment. We learned this week that the terrorist organization Islamic State ” would turn to NFTs ”, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, which was picked up en masse.
However, the facts are much more measured than that. A sympathizer of the Islamic State actually listing an NFT for sale called IS-NEWS #01, which has not yet been sold. It depicts an image with text celebrating an action against the Taliban, bearing the terrorist group’s emblem.
Lost when it comes to NFTs? Find our guide to understanding all about non-fungible tokens.
So we are talking about a single NFT that has not been sold, and not a new source of funding for the Islamic State. The experts interviewed in the Wall Street Journal article are only speculating and explaining that the terrorist group “could exploit» this new asset type self-finance. Researcher Raphael Gluck explains:
“It’s an experiment to find a way to create indestructible content»
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A great example of FUD
Let’s be clear: it is possible (and even very likely) that terrorist groups discover new ways to raise money, and emerging technologies would logically be viewed along these lines. But reporting on Islamic State’s adoption of NFTs is misleading at best, manipulative at worst. Indeed, this is not the first time the traditional press has rushed to link the world of cryptocurrencies and terrorism.
The various articles devoted to the subject also point out that NFTs are uncensored by nature and it is impossible to remove them. This is indeed the whole point of the blockchainwhich was created with ideals of decentralization, to share data and value freely.
But just as we can’t point the finger at dollars used to fund terrorist groups, we can’t point the finger at digital assets for use by a particularly narrow margin. A distinction that not everyone is willing to make… The FUD surrounding the blockchain therefore seems to have a bright future ahead of it.
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Source: Wall Street Journal
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