It has been identified the first non-fungible token produced and distributed by a terrorist sympathizer following an unsuccessful attack last month on a Taliban position in Afghanistan, according to former senior U.S. intelligence officials.
According to them, this may be a sign that other terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State, may be taking advantage of the emerging financial technology in order to bypass Western efforts to eliminate their online fundraising and messaging activities, they said.
On at least one of the NFT trading websites, the NFT, titled “IS-NEWS #01,” has the Islamic State’s emblem on it, which can be seen on the trading website. According to the former officials, the site was created by a supporter of the group, likely as a test of a new outreach and funding strategy for the group, which was considered to be an experiment by the supporter.
There have been concerns expressed by regulators, as well as officials associated with national security, that terrorists might be able to exploit new financial technologies and markets, including NFTs.
Although IS-NEWS #01 does not seem to have been traded, its existence on a blockchain—distributed across a multitude of systems connected to the internet—has made it virtually impossible for the Justice Department and other law-enforcement agencies to remove it from the internet, as opposed to, say, a traditional website that is hosted by a host service provider.
According to those who have studied the IS-NEWS #01 NFT, it’s likely that an Islamic State supporter was testing whether the authority could be evaded or whether legitimate NFT marketplaces would be willing to remove or limit the content it contains.
According to analysts, terrorist groups could certainly finance their operations by selling NFTs, especially the IS-NEWS #01 NFT and two others from the same creator, which aren’t currently being offered for sale on the NFT marketplace Rarible or other platforms. However, it is possible for terrorist groups to raise funds through the sale of NFTs.
A spokeswoman for OpenSea, one of the marketplaces where the NFT had been registered, said the listing had been removed from its site, and the poster’s account had been closed. According to her, the company had a zero-tolerance policy in regard to listings that incite hatred and violence among its users.
Among other things, NFT is available on a platform known as IPFS, which is a platform that allows data to be stored and retrieved across a series of nodes across the internet, which would make it extremely difficult for its elimination.