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Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/105644709@N08/

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/105644709@N08/

Atlantic Financial founder and bitcoin enthusiast Bruce Fenton spends a lot of time in the Middle East. As an economic strategist focused on investment, and as the self-proclaimed owner of a 25-year-old regional security company whose clients include the “DoD, FBI, Army, Navy,” Fenton has at least some awareness of the tensions in the area currently contested by jihadist movements. When Sky News reported yesterday that an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-tied blogger had published an article suggesting jihadist movements use bitcoin for financing, Fenton (like many other readers) was suspicious. Posting to Reddit today, Fenton says that the piece isn’t what Sky News claims it is.

“I’ve asked around and analyzed the piece claiming to be by ISIS which supports Bitcoin,” Fenton wrote. “I’m absolutely convinced it is a hoax, phony or a fabrication.”

Fenton claims that the writing style and terminology are completely incorrect for someone from a jihadist background, instead seeming oddly similar to Western, anti-Muslim conventions. It was almost “as if someone used a western anti-Muslim site as reference,” he noted.

The veracity of the Sky News article has already been called into question by numerous bitcoin blogs and forum posts. In addition to the original article being written in English (a questionable method for reaching a population that generally doesn’t speak English), and the fact that the post was from a newly created WordPress.com blog with no clear connection to ISIS or any other movement in the region, the article itself (Google cache) took pains to explain terms that would be common to any actual Muslim reading the content.

Is this, as some have suggested, a concerted effort by the entrenched financial players to discredit bitcoin by smearing it with a “terrorist” brush? Fenton, for one, doesn’t think so.

“It’s either someone joking … or a more serious effort to discredit Bitcoin,” he wrote. “My guess would be a simply amateur doing a hoax not a grand government conspiracy because they fear Bitcoin.”

Perhaps the more interesting question is Sky News‘ motivation for writing a sensational headline and article without providing any context for the source of the claims. There is no substantial evidence that the author of the piece has any connection to ISIS or other radical group, and the source blog has only existed for a few days.

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