Neo-Nazis’ early embrace of Bitcoin netted them millions of dollars

Far-right extremists began adopting cryptocurrency to fund their hate years before everyone else.

Members of the neo-nazi group, The American National Socialist Movement, protest during a rally in f...

An extensive report released last week from the Southern Poverty Law Center showcases the extent to which Neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists have long relied on Bitcoin to fund their toxic lifestyles and careers, often years prior to cryptocurrencies’ recent rise in popularity and interest. After identifying and analyzing over 600 crypto addresses belonging to various reactionary bigots, the SPLC found that some of the movement’s most prominent figures have netted millions in profits following skyrocketing prices.

“The estimated tens of millions of dollars worth of value extreme far-right figures generated represents a sum that would almost certainly be unavailable to them without cryptocurrency, and it gave them a chance to live comfortable lives while promoting hate and authoritarianism, reads the report’s introduction.

The eternal refrain.NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

A perfect combination of philosophies — Fascists’ early adoption of cryptocurrency seems almost inevitable in hindsight. The prospect of conducting business and raising funds outside traditional banking institutions beholden to federal oversight, coupled with pervasive antisemitic tropes about Jews within the financial industry, made Bitcoin a perfect alternative avenue for Nazis and other far-right advocates.

“Crypto looked to them like an interesting toy and a way of being in charge of their money and not having to use central banking. Then when you layer the antisemitism, on top of that, as in ‘the banks are controlled by the Jews,’ it makes a lot of sense why these early adopters, these libertarian-styled guys, would get involved in Bitcoin so early,” explained the SPLC report’s co-author, Megan Squire, to NBC News yesterday.

Not going to change — Unfortunately, given the very nature of decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, it doesn’t seem like there is really any way to prevent these kinds of people from utilizing the services. It, along with many, many, other negative effects are unavoidable at the moment when it comes to crypto’s rise in interest and popularity.