As per the latest report by MEMRI, short for Middle East Media Research Institute which is based in Washington DC, multiple infamous terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood, and the Hamas, are banking on Telegram, as well as other social media channels, for raising digital currencies. Moreover, this threat is only going to increase with Telegram unveiling its own blockchain called TON (Telegram Open Network) along with its cryptocurrency titled Gram, as noted in the report.
In one of his statements, Steven Stalinsky, MEMRI’s Executive Director, quoted as saying, “Telegram is the number one source for terrorist organizations online.” He also said that such terrorist groups are fundraising using Bitcoin (BTC) already so TON will eventually end up making it ten times worse.
The report pointed out that the staff of MEMRI has been updating the government agencies, legislatures and academia, and media of the United States, as well as other Western government authorities, on their discoveries. In fact, congressional letters have also been written to Pavel Durov, the CEO of Telegram, with the assistance of MEMRI, urging him to take action on an immediate basis against the documented proof of terrorists utilizing his platform.
In addition, the report cites a few examples which highlight that jihadi groups are not only using cryptocurrencies but also fundraising with it. For instance, on 26th March, Abdallah Al-Muhaysini, the jihadi preacher, based in Syria, posted a video on his channel on Telegram urging Muslims to extend their support to the “Islamic Resistance in Palestine” (that is Hamas) by making fund donations using Bitcoin.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, asked its supporters from across the world to send funds through Bitcoin on 29th January 2019. They distributed it using numerous platforms of social media, including Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Skype.
Telegram, on the other hand, has extended its cooperation with the governments after the terrorist attacks coordinated on its platform. Its website states that they block terrorist channels and bots flagged through its channel ISISwatch. This month alone, the platform has blocked more than 3971 such suspicious channels.