WSJ Corrects Article Mischaracterizing Crypto Funding of Hamas and Other Militant Groups
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has issued a partial correction to an article that inaccurately portrayed the extent to which Hamas and other militant organizations have been funding their terrorism activities with cryptocurrencies. The article, titled “Hamas Militants Behind Israel Attack Raised Millions in Crypto,” relied on information from blockchain forensics firm Elliptic to claim that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) raised as much as $93 million between August 2021 and June 2023.
However, Elliptic clarified that the funds seized by Israel’s counter-terrorism unit from PIJ-linked wallets did not necessarily mean that the organization raised these funds for terrorism purposes. In fact, further research from another blockchain forensics firm, Chainalysis, revealed that only $450,000 of the funds were sent to a wallet associated with terrorism.
In its correction, WSJ acknowledged that PIJ and Lebanese political party Hezbollah may have exchanged up to $12 million in cryptocurrency since 2021, significantly less than the initially reported $93 million figure. The article also included additional context about Elliptic’s research.
This correction comes after Elliptic called on WSJ to rectify its misinterpretation of the data. While pleased with the acknowledgement of the mistakes, Elliptic expressed a desire for WSJ to provide more specific corrections.
Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, highlighted that WSJ’s opening paragraph still implies that cryptocurrency was the primary funding source of Hamas’ recent attack on Israel. Grewal pointed out that there is no evidence to support this claim.
In response to WSJ’s correction, voices within the cryptocurrency community are urging United States Senator Elizabeth Warren to retract a letter she and over 100 lawmakers endorsed. The letter, addressed to the White House, relied on WSJ’s misinterpreted data to argue that cryptocurrencies pose a national security threat and called for swift action from Congress and the Biden administration.
The corrections made by WSJ highlight the importance of accurate reporting when it comes to the funding sources of militant groups. It is crucial to avoid generalizations and misrepresentations that could perpetuate misconceptions about the role of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorism.
[Paul Grewal’s Tweet](https://twitter.com/iampaulgrewal/status/1718029898718347284)
[Nic Carter’s Tweet](https://twitter.com/nic__carter/status/1718000416837804426)
[Related Article: US Enforcement Agencies Turning Up the Heat on Crypto-Related Crime](https://cointelegraph.com/magazine/us-enforcement-agencies-turning-up-heat-crypto-related-crime/)
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