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MORE than 20 far-right groups and individuals received more than $500,000 in bitcoin payments ahead of last week’s riots at Capitol Hill in which five people were killed, research showed today.
The revelation has fuelled speculation that the storming of the US federal legislature may have been pre-planned, since the massive payment was made into 22 virtual wallets about a month before.
According to a blogpost by cryptocurrency monitoring group Chainalysis, a payments of 28.15 bitcoins was made by a French donor on December 8 in one single transaction.
Chainalysis’s investigations revealed that far-right groups and individuals including Nick Fuentes, who was central to the Capitol Hill protests, were the main beneficiaries of the bumper payment, receiving large bitcoin donations.
“We have also gathered evidence that strongly suggests the donor was a now deceased computer programmer based in France,” Chainalysis said in its report.
“The donation, as well as reports of the planning that went into the Capitol raid on alt-right communication channels, also suggests that domestic extremist groups may be better organised and funded than previously thought,” the blogpost continued.
Mr Fuentes, a white nationalist, was the biggest recipient of the bitcoin payments, according to Chainalysis investigations.
“Nick Fuentes received 13.5 BTC — worth approximately $250,000 [£181,000] at the time of the transfer — making him by far the biggest beneficiary of the donation.
“However, several others received significant funds as well, including anti-immigration organisation VDAR, alt-right streamer Ethan Ralph and several addresses whose owners are as yet unidentified,” it said.
Mr Fuentes, who describes himself as an American nationalist and paleoconservative, was permanently banned from YouTube in February last year for hate speech directed at progressive Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
He was seen posing with a megaphone on the steps of Capitol Hill as supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in response to claims that last November’s presidential election was “stolen.”
While he has denied entering the building, Mr Fuentes encouraged his audience in the days leading up to the protest to engage in extreme behaviour to prevent president-elect Joe Biden’s victory from being certified.
This included hinting that his supporters “should kill state legislators.”
In a broadcast streamed on DLive on January 4 and seen by the Morning Star, he said: “What can you and I do to a state legislator — besides kill him?” before adding: “We should not do that. I’m not advising that, but I mean, what else can you do, right?”
Police and state officials allowed protesters easy access to the floor of Congress and other rooms in the building, where property was damaged and five people died — four supporters of Mr Trump and one police officer.
The riots have been widely described as “a fascist coup,” with the hyperbole reaching a peak when it was compared to the September 11 2001 attacks in which more than 3,000 people died after hijacked planes flew into New York’s World Trade Centre.
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