Hamas Armed Wing to Stop Crypto Fundraising Over ‘Hostility’ Against Donors
by i24 News
i24 News – The armed wing of Gaza’s terror group Hamas said Thursday it would stop receiving fundraising via the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, citing an increase in “hostile” activity against donors.
Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the Palestinian enclave’s most powerful armed faction that has fought several wars with Israel over the years, said the move “comes out of concern about the safety of donors and to spare them any harm,” adding that it had seen an increased effort to prevent people and groups from sending it Bitcoin funds.
The group also renewed its call for “continued donation to Qassam and the resistance by all available means.”
Gaza economist Mohammad Abu Jayyab told Reuters the decision implied that Hamas feels as though Israel could reveal the identities of donors or reach their wallets, and were therefore seeking to protect them.
For years, policymakers and regulators worldwide have voiced concern over the illegal use of crypto, from money laundering to the financing of terrorism.
Bitcoin and other crypto tokens offer high levels of anonymity. Yet, technological developments have made it easier for authorities to track the movement of crypto as well as those who are behind such transfers.
Hamas has for years endorsed crypto as a fundraising method, developing sophisticated tactics to solicit Bitcoin donations. While the group hasn’t disclosed the sources of its funds, leaders have frequently mentioned donations by individuals across the Muslim world.
Iran has also always been a major financial and military backer of the group, with the shared aim of the destruction of the State of Israel.