Amir Taaki is notorious in the bitcoin world for his radical political beliefs and technical skills—which is saying something in a culture that has spawned a cast of infamous characters, like the cryptocurrency magnate “Bitcoin Jesus” or the rapper CoinDaddy. Taaki, 29, an influential bitcoin voice and programmer since 2010, could have become a crypto-millionaire himself.

He has often hosted the leaders of today’s multi-billion dollar crypto projects—such as ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin—at meetings in abandoned buildings in London, Barcelona, and elsewhere around Europe. A self-described anarchist, Taki worked on a number of projects that put him at odds with governments around the world, including Dark Wallet, an attempt to create an untraceable version of bitcoin, and DarkMarket, a version of the drugs marketplace Silk Road that was designed to evade law enforcement.

He worked on these projects with collaborator Cody Wilson, who pioneered 3D-printed guns and also worked on Dark Wallet. In 2015, Taaki seemingly vanished from the cryptocurrency world—only to resurface amidst a flurry of press last year to reveal he had been fighting ISIS in Syria on behalf of a would-be autonomous state called Rojava (paywall), which borders Syria, Turkey, and Iran.

When he returned to the UK in 2016, he says British police arrested him, and kept him in the country for a year. British counter-terrorism officials have told Wired, the Evening Standard, and others that they won’t comment on any ongoing investigation.

The London Metropolitan Police told the Evening Standard that anyone returning from the conflict in Syria should expect to be “reviewed” by them. The booming cryptocurrency industry Taaki returned to was nothing like the budding bitcoin scene he had left behind. Read more from…

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