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Cash-strapped white supremacists are turning to cryptocurrency and crowdfunding

Cash-strapped white supremacists are turning to cryptocurrency and crowdfunding
[Photo: Jingyi Wang/Unsplash]

It’s not easy to get paid to be a white supremacist. In fact, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, many work pro bono. But since most of the largest payment processors now refuse to do business with them, some racist organizations have begun soliciting money in unorthodox ways.

“The most significant new type of funding for the white supremacist movement,” says the ADL report, “is crowdfunding or crowdsourcing.” These groups have gone to platforms like Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and FundRazr to garner financial support. They even started building their own sites to raise funds so they wouldn’t have to comply with other platforms’ terms of service. In fact, there’s a white supremacist clone of Patreon–called Hatreon–which is allegedly raising thousands of dollars every month.

(Update: GoFundMe has provided Fast Company with this statement:  “White nationalists and neo-nazis cannot use GoFundMe to promote hatred, racism, or intolerance, and if a campaign violates GoFundMe’s terms of service, we’ll remove it from the platform.”)

Even after raising the cash, hate groups often have trouble actually receiving it, since prominent payment processors refuse to work with them. To circumvent this, says the ADL’s report, some white supremacist groups turn to cryptocurrency for digital payments. Prominent hate groups print their bitcoin address on their website and say the digital currency is their preferred method of payment.

Digital currency or not, hate groups are running into the same issue—many electronic cryptocurrency processors also refuse to do business with them. One prominent hate group leader, somewhat ironically,  “must have his Bitcoin donations mailed to his post office address,” according to the report.

The ADL writes that, even with these technological advances, “the white supremacists movement is particularly poorly funded.” Only the most well-known white supremacists leaders seem to have figured out a way to make a slight living off of the hate they spew. All the same, these groups are quite agile. The ADL recommends that both credit card companies and money transfer platforms create more thorough reporting systems to become more vigilant in monitoring transactions as a way to combat white supremacists’ fundraising tactics.

You can read the full report here.CGW