Hamas Sees Increase in Bitcoin Donations Amid Israel-Palestine Conflict

According to a senior Hamas official quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the Palestinian militant group Hamas has witnessed a surge in Bitcoin donations since the outbreak of armed conflict with Israel last month. The cryptocurrency market has allowed Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist group by the US, UK and others, to evade international sanctions. “There has definitely been an increase in [Bitcoin donations],” the Hamas official said. “Some of the money is used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.” The think tank says ISIS has a $300 million war chest hidden in Bitcoin. Given that Hamas has been labeled a terrorist organization by many of the world's powers, it has been excluded from the global financial system. As a result, he turned to more creative sources of funding, such as cryptocurrency donations. The Hamas official, who declined to be named, did not specify exactly how much Bitcoin the group received, but said that the group's share of total revenue has increased. And this isn't the first time Hamas has turned to Bitcoin for revenue. In 2019, Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, launched an online call for Bitcoin donations. The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement last year that the group "could boast that Bitcoin donations are untraceable and will be used for violence." The cryptocurrency startup has come with similar campaigns from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. In August 2020, the US Department of Justice announced that it had terminated all three terrorist financing campaigns and seized "millions of dollars, over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites and four Facebook pages." Behind Bitcoin Donation Calls Groups targeted by counter-terrorism measures should be cautious with their Bitcoin donation calls. In the case of Hamas, the military wing of the group turned to Telegram, an encrypted messaging service. by W

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