Blockchain forensic firm Elliptic has stated that there is no evidence to support the claim that Hamas is receiving significant cryptocurrency donations to fund its attacks against Israel. In a statement released on October 25, Elliptic refuted recent articles and letters written by The Wall Street Journal and US lawmakers, which the firm says misinterpreted data to suggest that cryptocurrency is widely used to finance Hamas’ “terrorist” activities. Elliptic pointed to a Hamas cryptocurrency fundraising campaign operated by Gaza Now, which has only raised $21,000 since the attack on Israel on October 7. Of that amount, $9,000 was frozen by stablecoin issuer Tether, and another $2,000 was frozen after being sent to a cryptocurrency exchange, presumably for cashing out.
The Wall Street Journal initially claimed that over $130 million in cryptocurrency was raised by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad between August 2021 and June 2023. However, Elliptic reached out to the publication to correct this statement, and it was later revised to say “as much as $93 million” in an update on October 10. The WSJ article was cited in a letter written by Elizabeth Warren and over 100 other US lawmakers to the White House and the US Department of the Treasury on October 17. They argued that cryptocurrency poses a national security threat and called for strong action to address the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
Chainalysis, another blockchain forensics firm, also addressed misconceptions about cryptocurrency financing of terrorism in a blog post on October 18. They highlighted a wallet that reportedly received $82 million, but explained that only $450,000 was transferred to a known terror-affiliated wallet. Elliptic also noted that Hamas suspended cryptocurrency fundraising through Bitcoin in April 2023 due to concerns about donor safety.
Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing has been issuing seizure orders for cryptocurrency wallets tied to Hamas and working with exchanges to freeze their accounts. These actions suggest that cryptocurrency is not an effective tool for terrorism fundraising, as the transparency of the blockchain allows illicit funds to be traced and linked to real-world identities.
It is important to note that Elliptic’s data does not support the claim that cryptocurrency is widely used to fund Hamas’ activities. The firm has called for corrections to be made by The Wall Street Journal and the US lawmakers who relied on incorrect information.
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