Hamas Collected $7,400 in Bitcoin, Started Using Multiple Wallet Addresses To Hide Evidence
Hamas’ militant wing has collected around $7,400 from the time it started accepting cryptocurrency contributions, but monitoring the funds is expected to turn into an arduous process. The group is banned by the United States, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, which have tagged it a militant organization. The European Union has also labeled Hamas as terrorist organization. Remiting funds to the terrorist labeled group are punishable by law in those countries.
Hamas’ militant arm— the unofficial governing authority of the Gaza Strip in Palestine— is supposedly using increasingly sophisticated initiatives to annoy efforts by officials to monitor the movement of its cryptocurrency funding. Research teams from blockchain intelligence company Elliptic, as cited by Reuters on April 26, issued the claim. Since January, Al-Qassam Brigades urged followers to remit Bitcoin.
The mission is spurred by instructional videos showing how Bitcoin can undermine conventional finance. From the time the appeal came up, analysts traced donations quite easily because they used only one Bitcoin address to receive donations. In January, a communications manager for the group’s armed wing called on backers to offer contributions to the Bitcoin organization (BTC) as a way of tackling financial seclusion.
Hamas ‘ financial seclusion arises from its designation as a militant group by so many nations and global blocs — including the United States and the European Union as a whole or partially. Having governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, Hamas includes a social service arm “Dawah” and a radical faction “Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades,” the latter launching this year’s Bitcoin funding request.
Russia, Turkey and China have not labeled Hamas as a jihadist entity. Elliptic’s research unit has asserted, according to Reuters, that in past few weeks al-Qassam Brigades have altered their crypto-funding mechanism. While investigative authorities can efficiently red-flag a given crypto wallet, multiple unique address proliferation complicates such efforts significantly, the report notes.
While intelligence officials can effectively red-flag a specified crypto wallet, numerous unique address propagation muddles these kind of attempts significantly. According to Elliptic’s data, from March 26 to April 16, 0.6 Bitcoin— valued at roughly $3,100 — was remitted to the group’s website-created countless wallets. Since its appeal began, the al-Qassam Brigades have amassed roughly $7,400, Elliptic reports.
While the company refused to reveal much of the specifics of its conclusions, two unidentified Asia-based crypto exchanges allegedly played a major role in pinpointing the payment movement from these addresses.
Reportedly, Elliptic has not determined whether the crypto was exchanged for fiat currencies. In February, an Israeli blockchain intelligence firm stated to have found evidence of contributions in Bitcoin to Hamas, assessing that about $2,500 in donations was done in a matter of two days of the initial wallet address release.
For each payment, the facility is now said to create a distinctive Bitcoin address, making “tagging” wallets pertaining to Al-Qassam Brigades considerably harder.
A two-minute video uploaded to the Al-Qassam Brigades page operates as a step-by-step manual to promote Bitcoin’s Palestinian resistance. Reportedly, it instructs supporters about how to remit Bitcoin through money exchange offices and cryptocurrency exchanges, and how to eliminate connecting Bitcoin wallet trades to private IP addresses (using public devices).
Al-Qassam Brigades is said to have made 13 contributions solely from a separate, Asian-based digital asset exchange. The $7,400 collected is miniscule relative to Hamas ‘ total yearly revenue in the earlier years (at one point, $23 million per month), but the militant group has been facing difficulty for years.
It increased taxes drastically in 2016 after Egypt’s tunnel transactions faded away and its allied nations (Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood) reduced financial assistance.
Other organizations worldwide use cryptocurrency to collect money as well. Venezuela’s tough ruler Nicolas Maduro debuted native cryptocurrency, the Petro, in an obvious quest to circumvent global oil sales sanctions.
Findings also suggest that North Korea successfully hacked cryptocurrency exchanges and ancillary services to assist the Kim Jong-un dictatorship. A week before, research teams even asserted it could use the funding to purchase nuclear weapons.