A hacktivist has sent $10,000 worth of allegedly stolen virtual currency (25 bitcoins) to Rojava, an autonomous region in northern Syria that the hacker describes as "one of the most inspiring revolutionary projects in the world today."
The donor, who goes under the aliases "Phineas Phisher," "Hack Back!" and "@GammaGroupPR," declined to name the victims of the bitcoin heist, saying he'd "rather not yet, since there's hopefully a few orders of magnitude more on the way."
If true, Rojava’s pursuits could soon be the beneficiary of a million in bitcoin.
Rojava suffers from something of an identity crisis. On the one hand, according to America, it is a haven for terrorists within the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party -- but it is at war with terrorist group ISIS and obeys a constitution that mandates gender equality and freedom of religion.
Cut off from foreign trade by the conflict with ISIS and a hostile Turkey, the region is struggling to feed itself, and seeks donations to purchase farm equipment, according to its crowdfunding page.
"They're in an incredibly difficult situation, with ISIS on one side and US ally Turkey embargoing and attacking them on the other," the hacker told Ars Technica. "Yet, in a part of the world the West likes to look down on as a backwards shithole, they're building a society that takes ‘Western’ values like democracy and feminism to lengths that put the West to shame. All while fighting ISIS and winning, unlike the US trained and supplied Iraqi army."
The United States is not a fan. In March of this year, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, "We don't support self-ruled, semi-autonomous zones inside Syria. We just don't."
Newsweek reports that the hacktivist is claiming the bitcoin donation, which is recorded publicly on the blockchain ledger and listed on the crowdfunding campaign page, came from hacking into a bank.
“The money did come from robbing a bank,” Fisher wrote in a Reddit post on Wednesday. “Bank robbing is more viable than ever, it’s just done differently these days.”