Blockchain forensic firm challenges claims of massive crypto donations to Hamas, highlighting modest figures and the broader implications for the crypto industry.
- Elliptic counters reports of significant cryptocurrency donations to Hamas, clarifying that the amounts raised remain small, challenging the narrative.
- Examining a specific Hamas fundraising campaign reveals that it managed to raise only $21,000, while a substantial portion was frozen by Tether and a cryptocurrency exchange.
- The case underscores the need for an evidence-based approach in discussions about cryptocurrency’s role in illicit activities, as regulatory scrutiny continues to grow in the industry.
Blockchain forensic firm Elliptic has issued a response to recent articles and letters penned by U.S. lawmakers, aiming to clarify claims surrounding cryptocurrency donations allegedly funding Hamas. Elliptic’s statement comes in the wake of mounting concerns and debate about the role of cryptocurrency in financing illicit activities, particularly with regard to terrorist organizations.
The key focus of Elliptic’s response is to challenge the alleged misinterpretation of data, notably those presented in The Wall Street Journal’s reporting. The initial claim, suggesting that over $130 million in cryptocurrency was raised by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad between August 2021 and June 2023, has been revised by the publication to “as much as $93 million.”
Elliptic asserts that the data simply does not support the assertion that Hamas has received significant volumes of cryptocurrency donations. The firm highlights that the amounts raised remain relatively small, debunking the notion of substantial crypto funding for the organization.
Examining Specific Cases
To underscore their position, Elliptic delves into a specific example – a prominent Hamas cryptocurrency fundraising campaign operated by Gaza Now. Despite the concerns raised about crypto funding for Hamas, the campaign’s performance is far from what one might expect. It has managed to raise only $21,000 since the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Elliptic also sheds light on the fate of these funds. Notably, $9,000 of the raised amount was frozen by stablecoin issuer Tether. Another $2,000 met a similar fate after it was sent to a cryptocurrency exchange, presumably for cashing out.
This detailed examination of the Gaza Now campaign brings to the forefront the modest success of such endeavors, challenging the narrative of substantial cryptocurrency funding for Hamas.
Defending Crypto’s Reputation
Elliptic’s response is not just about debunking the claims but also about defending the reputation of cryptocurrencies. The firm emphasizes that the data does not support public crypto fundraising as a significant source of funds for Hamas and other terrorist groups.
Misinterpretations of such data, according to Elliptic, can have broader implications for cryptocurrency’s reputation, potentially fueling concerns and regulatory actions. The cryptocurrency industry has witnessed growing scrutiny from regulators and policymakers. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of an evidence-based approach in such discussions.
Chainalysis, another blockchain forensics firm, has also addressed similar misconceptions in the media. Notably, they pointed to a highlighted wallet that reportedly received $82 million but clarified that only $450,000 was transferred to a known terrorism-affiliated wallet.
Moreover, Elliptic points out that Hamas suspended cryptocurrency fundraising in April 2023, citing concerns about the safety of donors and to spare them any harm. This action indicates that even Hamas recognizes the potential risks associated with cryptocurrency fundraising.
Furthermore, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing has been actively issuing seizure orders for cryptocurrency wallets linked to Hamas and collaborating with exchanges to freeze accounts used by the organization.
The cryptocurrency industry continues to navigate the complex landscape of regulatory scrutiny, with this case illustrating the need for accurate data and nuanced discussions in addressing concerns about cryptocurrency’s role in illicit activities. The challenge lies in striking a balance between security and innovation in this rapidly evolving field.
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