- Ints Kalnins/Reuters
- Cryptocurrency bitcoin has shot up massively in value over the last few days, currently sitting at $15,338.
- That’s profited anyone who holds the cyrptocurrency – including neo-Nazis forced to accept anonymous donations in bitcoin after being banned from legitimate fundraising services.
- Pro-Nazi publisher Counter Currents and neo-Nazi internet troll Andrew “weev” Auernheimer have raised thousands of dollars in bitcoin.
- The news will do little to counter bitcoin’s reputation as a currency for criminals and other undesirable players.
The massive boom in the value of bitcoin has ended up profiting neo-Nazis who have taken thousands of dollars in donations, according to an investigation by Mic.
Mic used the @Neonaziwallets Twitter bot, created by security researcher John Bambenak, to track cryptocurrency transactions in and out of suspected neo-Nazi wallets over a period of several months.
In that time, bitcoin has gone up 243% in value and is currently sitting at $15,338. You can read a full primer on what bitcoin is here.
A quick scan of @Neonaziwallets’ Twitter feed shows it’s tracking accounts belonging to Counter Currents, a US white supremacist publishing house which has published books about the pro-Nazi spy Savitri Devi, and former BNP member Jonathan Bowden. It’s also tracking neo-Nazi Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, white nationalist Richard Spencer, and his think tank the National Policy Institute, among others.
One of bitcoin’s most famous attributes is that it lets you move the currency anonymously – but in order to accept donations, places like Counter Currents have had to publicise their bitcoin addresses. That’s allowed Bambenak to track what goes in and out of their accounts.
Auernheimer, or weev, has reportedly received more than $1 million in bitcoin and, according to Mic, withdrawn $118,620 (£88,057) from his wallet between late August and December.
One wallet apparently belonging to Auernheimer has contained a total of 194 bitcoin over a period of several years. At today’s bitcoin value, that would add up to more than $3 million.
According to the @Neonaziwallets bot, Counter Currents holds 5.79 bitcoin across its wallets, which equates to $91,156 (£67,566).
0.00087737 BTC ($13.79)https://t.co/DlbwvEDhlt
Total of Counter Currents BTC wallets:
5.79790863 BTC ($91,156.08)
— Neonazi BTC Tracker (@NeonaziWallets) December 7, 2017
Other white supremacists haven’t done so well: Richard Spencer only has around $1,000 sitting in his wallet and has conducted few transactions over the last few months. And having declared bitcoin the “currency of the alt right” in March, he also now says that its price reflects a bubble.
One reason neo-Nazis have turned to a largely anonymous and speculative currency to fund their activities: they’re banned from just about everything else. Payment services such as PayPal and GoFundMe revoked support for neo-Nazi accounts after white supremacist violence during the Charlottesville march in Virginia in August.