At a time when the world is closely watching the interaction between cryptocurrencies and militant groups, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in expressing her concern. Recently, global headlines buzzed with the news that cryptocurrency had fueled a Hamas attack on Israel. It was a scenario that put the relationship between cryptocurrencies and potential illicit activities under a white-hot spotlight.
On October 10, a wave of attention focused on Israel when its authorities froze cryptocurrency accounts associated with donations to Hamas. This was nothing new, as already in 2021, Israel Terrorism Financing seized cryptocurrency assets that were allegedly linked to a fundraising campaign by the same organization.
Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, was actively collaborating with international agencies on those seizures. However, it was Warren, along with a collective of more than 100 US lawmakers, who amplified the volume of the conversation. They sent a letter to the Biden administration, requesting a stricter crackdown on Hamas and associated cryptocurrency wallets.
Hamas raised millions via crypto in the months leading up to their attack on Israel. @RogerMarshallMD, @RepCasten and I are leading 100+ lawmakers urging the Biden admin to address crypto-financed terrorism.https://t.co/JksREJ3Dgs
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 18, 2023
The letter explicitly expressed the need to address “the financial risks associated with cryptocurrencies before they can be used to finance future tragic events.” Not stopping there, lawmakers sought details on the total value held in wallets controlled by Hamas, the proportion of Hamas operations financed via cryptocurrencies, and insights into entities that help send and receive crypto to Hamas and similar groups.
Further fueling the narrative, on October 18, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a Gaza-based cryptocurrency exchange, “Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company (Buy Cash)”, following the revelation of a just $2,000 worth of Bitcoin. For context, this pale sum stands in stark contrast to the hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly funding Hamas.
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