DL Research Content

Crypto in conflict

Crypto in conflict
Credit: Darren Joseph

With the history of money and warfare so inextricably linked, it is not surprising that contemporary conflict is also fully entangled with a very contemporary form of money – cryptocurrency.

The Crypto in Conflict chapter of DL Research’s latest report, The State of Digital Assets in Europe, delves into the impact of cryptocurrency on conflict zones, illustrating how digital assets are used for crisis management, illicit activities, and as an escape from economic crises.

From Ukraine to Palestine, Iraq to North Korea, cryptocurrencies have been both a bane and a boon for countries involved in conflict — either directly or covertly — among each other and powerful non-state actors, including terrorist groups and organised criminal groups.

Another level of conflict exists between financial authorities and governments, against their own citizens. Financial crashes can lead to violence, as law enforcement links arms outside a high street bank to prevent customers from accessing their money. In these scenarios, cryptocurrency has also played a significant role.

The chapter features an interview with Yevhenii Panchenko, head of operational analysis for the National Police of Ukraine’s Cyberpolice Department. Panchenko recounts his experiences since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and describes his department’s vigilant efforts to protect legitimate crypto transactions while intercepting illicit activities.

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