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Hamas Sees Surge in BTC Donations Amidst Israel-Palestine Conflict

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Hamas Sees Surge in BTC Donations Amidst 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 BTC donations since the outbreak of armed conflict with Israel last month

The cryptocurrency market has allowed Hamas—which rules the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist group by the U.S., UK, and others—to circumvent international sanctions. 

“There was definitely a spike [in Bitcoin donations],” the Hamas official said, adding, “Some of the money gets used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.” 

ISIS’s $300 million war chest is hidden in BTC, says think tank

Given that Hamas has been labeled a terrorist organization by many of the world’s powers, it has been locked out of the global financial system. As a result, it’s turned to more inventive funding sources like cryptocurrency donations. 

The Hamas official—who did not want to be named—did not declare exactly how much BTC the group has received, but they did say its proportion of overall revenue for the group is growing. 

What’s more, this is not the first time Hamas has turned to BTC for revenue. In 2019, the al-Qassam Brigades—Hamas’ military wing—launched an online call for BTC donations. The group “boasted that BTC donations were untraceable and would be used for violent causes,” the U.S. Department of Justice said last year. 

The cryptocurrency initiative came alongside similar campaigns from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. 

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had dismantled all three terror financing campaigns, seizing “millions of dollars, over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages.” 

Behind the calls for BTC donations

Groups that have been targeted by anti-terror measures have to go about their calls for BTC donations carefully. 

In Hamas’ case, the group’s military wing has turned to Telegram, an encrypted messaging service. Per The Wall Street Journal, the al-Qassam channel has gained 261,000 followers, six times more than the official Hamas channel. 

Other groups, like Islamic State, once turned to a now-defunct anonymous messaging app called BCM, an acronym for “Beyond Communication Matters.” 

Telegram now requires a phone number before a user registers an account. Before BCM closed down, users were not required to provide any identifying information to use the service. 

Users were also able to create groups of up to 100,000 people. BCM previously did not comment on this issue. 

BTC and the far-right

Other extremist groups have turned to cryptocurrency donations to finance their activities, too. 

Earlier this year, a French donor paid over $500,000 in BTC to “far-right activists and internet personalities” that took part in the Capitol Hill riots on January 6. Per a Chainalysis report, 28.15 BTC was sent on December 8 to 22 separate addresses, many of whom belonged to members of the far-right that took part in the riots. 

The source of funds was believed to have come from a now-deceased computer programmer in France. A suicide note dated December 9—a day after the BTC was transferred—claimed that Western civilization was on the decline. 

“I care about what happens after my death. That’s why I decided to leave my modest wealth to certain causes and people,” the note read. 


All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.

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