Israeli authorities have taken stringent action against cryptocurrency accounts linked to Hamas, the militant group. Employing a global financial network, Hamas had been channeling support from charities and sympathetic nations, utilizing cryptocurrencies to bypass international sanctions.
Following an attack on the country, Israeli authorities have frozen several crypto accounts, seizing millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrencies. According to a report by FT, more than 100 accounts on Binance suspected of ties to Hamas have been closed since the organization’s assault began on October 7. The authorities have also sought additional information on approximately 200 crypto accounts, the majority of which are held on the Binance exchange.
Global Initiative to Combat Illicit Crypto Use
This crackdown on crypto accounts forms part of a broader global initiative aimed at overseeing and governing digital currencies to prevent their exploitation for nefarious purposes. Cryptocurrencies, due to their decentralized nature and potential for user anonymity, have become favored methods for terrorist groups to raise funds.
Binance, a major cryptocurrency exchange, confirmed the development, stating that it adhered to recognized sanctions rules. The company acknowledged blocking a “small number” of accounts but did not disclose specific figures. In March, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had filed a lawsuit alleging connections between funds held on Binance and Hamas. Binance has expressed its intent to contest the lawsuit.
Israel Highlights Impact of Cryptocurrency in Financing Terrorism
Tom Alexandrovich, executive director at the Israel National Cyber Directorate, emphasized the significance of cryptocurrency in financing terror during conflicts. He stated, “In this period of war, cryptocurrency is a major issue for financing terror because there are no other options. The amount (of crypto funds) has super-increased since the attack began.”
Reports indicate that around 150 donation campaigns associated with Hamas and other groups have been identified since October 7. Last week, the Israeli police force announced freezing an unspecified number of accounts used by Hamas for fundraising, marking a critical step in disrupting illicit financial channels.