With increasing terror attacks, it is time to take a careful look at just how terrorism is funded. With a clear link between the December 19th Berlin attack and gold – the European Commission has sensibly proposed better regulation on the transfer of cash and precious metals from outside of the EU. This new regulation is expected to cut off one of the avenues of terrorist funding in Europe.
Terrorists and their financial backers use large denomination bills, crypto-currencies, and precious metals to fund their nefarious activities – they usually stay away from legitimate banking as this is easy to track and any anomalies are readily detected. Each of these three forms of funding has its own set of advantages for the terrorist.
- Cryptocurrencies are easy to use to transfer large sums across boarders anonymously without having to cross boarders physically. It is clear that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used to move terrorist funds all over the world.
- Large denomination bank notes, especially the $US100 and €500, are the most popular form of payment among terrorists as they are readily accepted worldwide (usually without question) and large sums can be carried easily. One million dollars in $100 bills weighs only 10 kg and fits into a briefcase. €500 notes are even easier to conceal, but sensibly the ECB is phasing them out.
- Gold weighs more than large denomination notes with one million dollars in gold weighing approximately 30kg – although heavier the dimensions are smaller than $100 notes. Gold is popular with terrorists as it is easy to smuggle large sums internally and it is less likely to be detected by currency sniffing dogs. Gold, like large denomination bills, is also accepted world wide (especially by greedy gold bug terrorist types).
As an experiment, we took a one ounce gold bar and $1000 in $100 bills to see just how easy it would be to rent a truck and fill it with flammable materials. Renting the truck was easy once we agreed to leave the gold as a safety deposit – no questions asked. It was also equally easy to buy 44 gallon drums of diesel with the $100 notes – again no questions asked, they even offered to help us load them in the truck. If we had to use electronic payment the authorities would have been able to track just where the funding came from and it would even be possible for the bank to have detected possible terrorist activities the minute we rented a truck and purchased excess fuel.
The potential outcome of a rental truck, full of fuel, driven by lone wolf terrorists, funded by gold and large denomination bills is catastrophic. Clearly authorities need to cut terrorist funding by banning precious metals ownership, phasing out high denomination bills, and transferring cryptocurrency management and oversight to the relevant central bank authorities – before another disastrous terror attack is perpetrated. As legitimate digital banking services are now available world wide – these sensible measures against terrorist funding would only hurt criminals and terrorists, they would not disadvantage law abiding citizens at all.