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Bits and pieces: Virtual money and terrorism

Simon Palombi is an intern in the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program. He has previously interned with the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.

The European Central Bank recently published an official study into digital online currencies, the first by a major financial institution.

Alarmingly, the report tends to play down the suitability of these currencies to terrorist groups. In particular, the report passes off legitimate concerns, such as those raised two years ago by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as ‘negative press’. Indeed, the report fails to account for the development and increasing market for the digital online currency known as Bitcoin, and not only its potential for use to launder money (raised by FATF) and for gambling but the access it provides to weapons available via online black markets.

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