Taking a lesson from maligned government’s like Russia and Venezuela, Hamas has turned to cryptocurrency to keep its funding going, and it’s getting really better at it. The only real ruling party of the Gaza Strip in Palestine, the militant arm of the group appears to be using multiple Bitcoin Core (BTC) wallet addresses to receive donations now, avoiding the easier traceability a single wallet would have.
Reuters reports the blockchain analysis firm Elliptic has been tracking the financial activity of Hamas, and in recent weeks they noticed the terrorist-linked group had begun generating new wallet addresses for every single transaction they receive. This helps them avoid getting a single address red-flagged by exchanges, and keeps the BTC flowing in.
It doesn’t appear very much BTC has been sent their way, however. Between March 26 and April 16, 0.6 BTC ($3,300) to their wallets from what Elliptic can see. Adding the single address they used to rely on, they’ve only collected roughly $7,400 this year. That pales in comparison to the millions Israel believes Hamas collects from Iran, but it could just be the start of something.
“They are still in experimentation stage – trying it out, seeing how much they can raise, and whether it works,” said Tom Robinson, Elliptic co-founder.
In theory, if Hamas can figure out how to make this a reliable method of fundraising, and cryptocurrency adoption reaches the heights that many hope it would, this could become a rich new resource for the group, and a necessary one.
Besides Iran, the group has a very difficult time getting financial aid, considering the group is sanctioned by the U.S. as a terrorist group, and has very few friends in the world. It’s neighbors, particularly Israel, are unlikely to help it very much considering the long ugly history they have in the region.
This isn’t that different than what other sanctioned governments have done. North Korea is suspected of doing the very same thing to avoid US sanctions, and Venezuela has famously created the Petro to help keep its economy going, to little success.
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