New Zealand Mosque Shooter’s Manifesto Highlights Uncomfortable Links Between Crypto and the Far Right

The man accused of killing 50 people at a New Zealand mosque and hospitalizing dozens more, including a 2-year-old child, claims in his lengthy “manifesto” that he made money from Bitconnect, a now-collapsed cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme that ripped off participants for billions of dollars.

In the “Who are you?” subsection of part of the manifesto called, “Answering Possible Questions,” Brendan Tarrant identifies himself as “just an ordinary” 28-year-old white working class Australian.

He says he did not do well in school and, “had no great interest in anything offered in the Universities to study.”

He also claims there to have made money from Bitconnect:

“I worked for a short time before making some money investing in Bitconnect, then used the money from the investment to travel.”

Later on, Tarrant says he did not originally plan to do an attack in New Zealand, but upon moving there found it, “a target-rich environment.”

The rest of the long manifesto is a melange of the politics, memes and racialized paranoia that seems to typify far right communications.

It includes sections on “Ethnic Autonomy,” “Green Nationalism” and so on.

The document also tells “Turks” to stay “East of the Bosphorus” or risk being “drive(n) like roaches from our lands.”

Terrant’s manifesto is cited in a recent Foreign Policy article by David Gerard, who writes about the Far Right’s demonstrated interest in cryptocurrencies:

“Bitcoin ideology is not a neo-Nazi ideology. However, bitcoin’s right-libertarian anarcho-capitalism is very much in range of far-right extremism, particularly in the degree to which both propagate ‘international banker’ and Rothschild-style conspiracy theories, and there are social spaces where the two cross directly, such as the /biz/ cryptocurrency forum on 4chan.”

David Golumbia, author of the 2016 book The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism, told Foreign Policy that he believes crypto subcultures harbour more than their fair share of fascist-leaning ideologues:

“I think only a small number of cryptocurrency users are out-and-out fascists or Nazis…But I also suspect that the proportion of fascists in that world is higher than it is in the general population. That’s due to the widespread presence of conspiratorial ideas in cryptocurrency communities. Many in cryptocurrency actively promote ignorance about what should be clear and uncontroversial facts about the world.”

Last year, Former Breitbart editor and Trump advisor Steve Bannon floated the idea of creating a “Deplorables Coin” cryptocurrency to fund his far-right campaigns.

Gerard notes that, “Bitcoiners are, understandably, in some denial as to how cozy the two strains can get,” but says, “the crossovers start early.”

The cypherpunk subculture from which the Bitcoin invention emerged was partly-inspired by “The Cypherpunk Manifesto,” which was written in 1988 by “respected elder philosopher of bitcoin,” Timothy C May.

While the Cypherpunk Manifesto bears no glaring far right features, in a later piece, May used “the n-word” to refer to Martin Luther King (Jr) and wrote, “It was GOOD that this commie promoter of derelict…(and “n-word”) causes was whacked-out by a CIA SPECOPS team.”

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