On October 25, 2023, blockchain analytics agency Elliptic launched an announcement clarifying misconceptions surrounding the extent of cryptocurrency funding obtained by Hamas. The agency emphasised the absence of considerable proof supporting claims that Hamas has garnered important crypto donations. This follows heightened scrutiny on cryptocurrency’s function in financing terrorism, particularly within the wake of the tragic incidents on October 7, orchestrated by Hamas.
Elliptic’s clarification comes amidst a wave of studies suggesting that cryptocurrencies have turn into a considerable financing software for Hamas. On October 10, a story was fueled by an article within the Wall Road Journal, titled “Hamas Militants Behind Israel Assault Raised Hundreds of thousands in Crypto”. This narrative gained traction when, on October 17, over 100 US lawmakers referenced the article in a letter to the White Home and the U.S. Division of the Treasury, asserting that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) raised over $130 million in cryptocurrencies between August 2021 and June 2023, a declare Elliptic argues lacks evidentiary backing.
Evaluation signifies that public crypto fundraising campaigns by Hamas haven’t obtained substantial donations. The disclosure reveals that Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas information outlet, solely obtained $21,000 in cryptocurrency donations since October 7, with $2,000 being despatched to an trade on October 9, and round $9,000 in stablecoin donations being frozen by Tether. This contrasts starkly with the reported $130 million determine cited by lawmakers.
Traditionally, Hamas sought Bitcoin donations beginning in 2019, peaking through the Could 2021 regional violence outbreak. Nonetheless, by April 2023, the group ceased public crypto fundraising, citing donor security issues. The halt adopted US and Israeli regulation enforcement actions, together with the issuance of seizure orders for Hamas-associated crypto wallets and collaboration with exchanges to freeze associated accounts.
Additional evaluation by each Elliptic and Chainalysis, one other blockchain forensics agency, underscores the exaggerated figures in media studies. As an example, one pockets presupposed to have obtained $82 million over seven and a half months had solely $450,000 related to terrorism, as per Chainalysis. The evaluation reveals a big misrepresentation of details in regards to the extent of cryptocurrency’s function in funding terrorism.
Notably, the scrutiny on Hamas’s crypto funding coincides with thriving crypto fundraising for humanitarian causes in Israel. As of October 19, Crypto Support Israel amassed over $185,000 in cryptocurrency donations to help these affected by the assaults, showcasing the potential optimistic impression of cryptocurrencies.
Elliptic careworn the significance of nuanced blockchain evaluation to keep away from misinformation, emphasizing its long-standing dedication to stopping crypto belongings’ illicit use. The agency advocates for a balanced understanding and reporting on the multifaceted points surrounding cryptocurrency and terrorism financing.
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