Chainalysis has discovered that many groups and individuals belonging to the American far right have received large donations in bitcoin in the past month.
Specifically, it turned out that on December 8, 2020, which is a month before the attack on Congress, an anonymous donor sent 28.15 BTC (about $522,000) to 22 different addresses with in a single transaction.
Many of these addresses belong to far-right activists.
Chainalysis also posted a chart showing the recipients and amounts.
Most of the funds went to Nick Fuentes, an extremist podcaster and former youtuber, since YouTube blocked his channel February 2020. He received on his personal public address 13.5 BTC, or $250,000. This is the single largest Crypto Engine platform donation he is known to have ever received, as his previous record was only $2,707.
Fuentes was one of the people present outside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 clashes, as were many other names included in the list compiled by Chainalysis.
It is not clear if this donation in BTC is directly linked to the assault on the Congress, but it is suspected that this attack was planned already a long time ago, as it would seem to emerge from the analysis of the discussions on Parler in which it was explicitly proposed to commit a violent action.
It is also unclear who the anonymous donor was, but Chainalysis suspects that it was a computer developer in France who is now deceased. The analytics company won’t reveal his name, but describes how they located him.
How Bitcoin donations were tracked down
One of the most interesting things about this affair is precisely the methodology used by Chainalysis to extrapolate this data from Bitcoin’s public blockchain, as it is only due to the fact that all BTC’s on-chain transactions are public that it is possible to track its flows in this way. For example, if such donations had been made with cash dollars it would have been absolutely impossible to track them.
Chainalysis uses its own proprietary blockchain analysis software and a team of investigators, thanks to which it is able to analyze public transactions, and sometimes to trace the names of the people involved.
Thanks to this transparency feature inherent in Bitcoin’s blockchain, law enforcement could even track these transactions in real time, and collaborate with crypto platforms to, for example, try to prevent funds from actually being used by violent groups to fund their operations.
In fact, Chainalysis has stated that it has informed U.S. government agencies of this transaction, and that some federal agencies are already investigating the case.