Before Suicide, French Programmer Made Bitcoin Bequest to Pro-Trump Groups

In December 2020, a French computer programmer name Laurent Bachelier donated more than half a million dollars in bitcoin to a variety of right-wing causes. That same day Mr. Bachelier, who suffered from a debilitating medical condition, killed himself.

The donations and their recipients were first described in a report last week by a bitcoin analysis firm, Chainalysis Inc. The Wall Street Journal identified Mr. Bachelier as the donor through online records and interviews with people familiar with the matter.

The Chainalysis report said the donations included 13.5 bitcoins—the equivalent, at the time, of $250,000—to Nick Fuentes, a far-right personality with a large online following. Mr. Bachelier also donated another $272,000 to other right-wing causes—again using bitcoin—giving more than $17,000 to the social-media platform Gab, and a similar amount to the anti-immigration website, according to the report.

Weeks later, Mr. Fuentes and some of his supporters were part of the crowd at President Trump’s rally before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to researchers who have been studying the event and its participants.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is exploring potential foreign sources of funding for far-right groups in the wake of the Capitol riots, and the agency has been briefed on Mr. Bachelier’s donations, according to people familiar with the matter.

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