A convicted terrorist has been imprisoned in the United Kingdom for dark web bitcoin trading.

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According to the BBC, convicted terrorist Khuram Iqbal, a 29-year-old British national, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for trading bitcoins on the dark web.

This isn't the first time Iqbal has been sentenced to prison. He was sentenced to prison in 2014 for propagating and possessing terrorist publications, including al-Inspire Qaeda's magazine.

He was sentenced to three years and three months in prison at the time; he was freed on probation in May 2015, but was recalled to prison a year later.

He faced a second arrest for violating a 10-year notification requirement by failing to inform authorities about two bitcoin accounts he controlled.

Between July and August of this year, he pleaded guilty to four violations.


Breaking down Iqbal’s crypto activity

Iqbal conducted 392 transactions with about £12,000 ($15,900) in deposited cash between November 10, 2017 and March 20, 2021.

Iqbal made three Bitcoin purchases on a dark web site that sold stolen credit card credentials in January 2020. Iqbal traded cryptocurrency through an account at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, according to the court.

According to reports, Coinbase has submitted a suspicious behaviour report.

Iqbal admitted to trading bitcoins with police but denied utilising the dark web. His phone, which had been seized, included software that allowed him to access the black web.

“The nature of cryptocurrency is that it is not traceable so the reality is he was in a position to operate two email addresses and two cryptocurrency accounts beneath the radar of police,” reportedly said prosecutor Paul Jarvis. 

Cryptocurrencies are, of course, traceable, as this story reveals. Traditional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, aside from privacy coins, are pseudonymous; while wallet addresses are anonymous, transactions between wallets are publicly viewable on the blockchain. Several companies, such as Chainalysis, have established their businesses on tying criminals' wallet addresses to their crypto activities.

Michael Morell, the former director of the CIA, said earlier this year that "blockchain technology is a potent but underutilised forensic tool for governments to identify unlawful conduct and bring offenders to jail." Meanwhile, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority spent $670,000 last month to teach personnel on the risks of money laundering and terrorism funding posed by the crypto business.

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