Bellingcat pokes holes in right-wing Bitcoin Fairy tale

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Investigative journalism unit Bellingcat has thrown doubt on evidence linking the “Bitcoin Fairy” who gave millions to far-right groups before January’s Capitol riots to donations made around Charlottesville.

The identity of the Bitcoin Fairy has been a mystery since they first donated $60,000 to the far-right after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.

But a figure resembling the Bitcoin Fairy sent $500,000 in BTC to a raft of popular right-wing entities in December, just weeks before Trump supporters took over DC.

Blockchain research firm Chainalysis later identified the donor of the half-million as deceased French computer programmer Laurent Bachelier in a Yahoo! News report.

  • Chainalysis linked Bachelier to the Bitcoin via an old NameID profile.
  • NameIDs can connect Bitcoin addresses to real names and emails. 
  • An email address listed on Bachelier’s NameID profile led Chainalysis to a suicide note, as well as a claim to the donations.

But Bellingcat found inconsistencies in the methods used to donate Bitcoin during Charlottesville and the half-million given in December.

Bellingcat highlighted 2017’s donor leveraged two dozen “go between” wallets to donate a steady stream of Bitcoin over several weeks in a bid to hide their identity.

In 2020, the Bitcoin Fairy reportedly used an entirely different network of addresses. They hopped between just two “go betweens” before sending $500,000 over two days — not weeks.

[Read more: Bitcoin giveaway scams pivot from Musk to Chamath, Winklevoss twins]

Security researcher John Bambenek told Bellingcat that Bitcoin users work in “predictable patterns.” One person maintaining such different Bitcoin wallet histories “would be very atypical.”

While the evidence doesn’t explicitly prove Bachelier wasn’t the Bitcoin Fairy, Bellingcat’s full report makes for an interesting read.

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