Hamas has been upping its crypto game of late, with its military wing- Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades- reportedly soliciting Bitcoin in a way that deters tracking.
Hamas has had a funding problem for a while now, with its sympathizers unable to conventionally fund it thanks to mounting Israeli sanctions. The group then went on to solicit for crypto donations from sympathizers all around the world; a plea that was met with mockery from Israeli authorities as well as new sanctions against the crypto funding plans.
With the crypto funding increasingly gaining unwanted attention and scrutiny, the group’s military wing Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades’; is now reportedly generating a new digital wallet to store every donation received, in a bid to make tracking more difficult.
Hamas previously used a single crypto wallet to store all crypto donations, but researchers now say that the move to create multiple wallets is indeed making tracking more difficult. With a single wallet it is easier for that address to be flagged, and for crypto exchanges to block those transactions. That anti-terrorism funding measure is much harder to implement with digital wallets being frequently changed.
According to a report from research group Elliptic; despite Hamas efforts to raise money through crypto, they have realized very little success. The group has reportedly raised less than 2 Bitcoins since the crowd funding exercise took off. The group has generated $7,400 in total so far (1.4 Bitcoin in current prices), with 0.6 Bitcoin being received between March 26 and April 16 this year. February was a happier time for the group after realizing $2,500 in Bitcoin donations.
While the group bears no risk in these transactions, donors carry substantive risks especially if they are based in western countries. There is reason to believe that quite a number of donors are based in western countries, after a video was done by the group suggesting several western based organizations from which to purchase crypto.
Using such exchanges will off course leave a paper trail which will lead to the donors quite easily. The military group has attempted to counter this by advising donors not to share their addresses and also not to disclose the recipients when directing exchanges to send the money to the address generated. The group also prefers their donors buying Bitcoin using credit cards, and then sending funds directly to their wallets.
The jihadist group has grown in its knowledge of crypto since the early days where they were simply begging for donations. The creation of multiple wallets indeed suggests that according to CIA analyst and national security expert Yaya Fanusie. Who spoke to the growing sophistication of the anti-Israeli group especially where crypto is concerned.
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