Blockchain forensic agency Elliptic says there’s “no proof” that Hamas is receiving a major quantity of cryptocurrency donations to fund its assaults in opposition to Israel.
“There isn’t a proof to assist the assertion that Hamas has acquired vital volumes of crypto donations,” Elliptic mentioned in an Oct. 25 assertion. The quantities raised “stay tiny,” the agency added.
Elliptic’s assertion was framed as a rebuttal to latest articles and letters written by The Wall Avenue Journal and United States lawmakers, which the agency says had misinterpreted knowledge to make the case that cryptocurrency is extensively used to fund Hamas’ “terrorist” actions.
For instance, Elliptic pointed to a “outstanding” Hamas cryptocurrency fundraising marketing campaign, operated by Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas information outlet, which has solely raised $21,000 for the reason that Hamas assault on Israel on Oct. 7.
Of the $21,000 raised, $9,000 was frozen by stablecoin issuer Tether, whereas one other $2,000 was frozen after it was despatched to a cryptocurrency trade — presumably to money out, Elliptic famous.
Setting the report straight on crypto crowdfunding by Hamas https://t.co/1tZrE1C43V
— Elliptic (@elliptic) October 25, 2023
Elliptic mentioned it reached out to WSJ to right a press release that originally claimed that over $130 million in cryptocurrency was raised by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad between Aug. 2021 and June 2023. WSJ later revised the assertion to say “as a lot as $93 million” in an Oct. 10 replace.
The WSJ article had been cited in a letter written by Elizabeth Warren and over 100 different U.S. lawmakers to the White Home and U.S. Division of the Treasury on Oct. 17.
Warren and different lawmakers argued that cryptocurrency poses a “nationwide safety menace” to the U.S. and its allies and that Congress and the Biden administration should take “sturdy motion” to completely deal with dangers with cryptocurrencies in facilitating illicit exercise earlier than it may be used to finance one other “tragedy.”
Nonetheless, Elliptic reiterated that its knowledge was misinterpreted:
“Over the previous two weeks, politicians and journalists have portrayed public crypto fundraising as a major supply of funds for Hamas and different terrorist teams, however the knowledge merely doesn’t assist this.”
~20% of US Congress signed a letter based mostly on incorrect info. Elliptic simply corrected the info. Will @WSJ & the ~20% of Congress right their statements now?@nic__carter, thanks for demanding reality right here, and holding energy accountable for misstatements of reality https://t.co/TazXQnjjgW
— Caitlin Lengthy ⚡️ (@CaitlinLong_) October 25, 2023
On Oct. 18, blockchain forensics agency Chainalysis additionally posted a weblog making an attempt to handle supposed misconceptions circulating within the media. One explicit pockets highlighted by media reportedly acquired $82 million throughout 7 and a half months, however Chainalysis defined that of that, solely $450,000 was transferred to a identified terror-affiliated pockets.
In the meantime, Elliptic additionally famous that in April 2023, Hamas suspended cryptocurrency fundraising performed by Bitcoin (BTC), citing a “concern concerning the security of donors and to spare them any hurt.”
Associated: Criminals extra reliant on cross-chain bridges than ever after mixer crackdowns
In 2021, Israel’s Nationwide Bureau for Counter Terror Financing additionally started issuing seizure orders for cryptocurrency wallets tied to Hamas and labored with exchanges to freeze accounts utilized by them.
These occasions counsel cryptocurrency isn’t an excellent means to facilitate terrorism fundraising, Elliptic argued:
“This illustrates the weak spot of crypto as a terrorism fundraising software. The transparency of the blockchain permits illicit funds to be traced, and in some circumstances linked to real-world identities.”
Cointelegraph reached out to WSJ for remark however didn’t obtain an instantaneous response.
Journal: US enforcement businesses are turning up the warmth on crypto-related crime