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Elliptic Refutes Claims of Significant Cryptocurrency Donations to Hamas

Blockchain forensic firm Elliptic dismisses claims that Hamas receives significant cryptocurrency donations, challenging reports by prominent media and U.S. lawmakers.

Thu, 26 Oct 2023, 15:01 pm UTC

Cryptocurrency's alleged ties to funding activities by Hamas have come under the spotlight recently. However, Elliptic, a prominent blockchain forensic firm, addressed these concerns, stating on October 25 that there isn't any concrete evidence to substantiate claims that Hamas has been benefiting from significant cryptocurrency donations.

The firm's statement directly challenges several assertions made by the media, including The Wall Street Journal and various U.S. lawmakers. According to Elliptic, these entities misconstrued data, suggesting cryptocurrencies are a primary funding source for Hamas' actions against Israel.

Elliptic provided an instance to validate their stance. They highlighted a fundraising campaign led by Gaza Now, an outlet supporting Hamas. Despite being labeled as "prominent", this campaign accumulated a mere $21,000 post the Hamas offensive on Israel on October 7.

Interestingly, a significant portion of these funds was frozen. Tether, the stablecoin issuer, froze $9,000, while an additional $2,000 was halted when it was being sent to a crypto exchange, likely for liquidation.

One notable correction was about a statement by The Wall Street Journal, which initially reported Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad amassing over $130 million in cryptocurrencies from August 2021 to June 2023. Elliptic's intervention resulted in the figure being corrected to around $93 million in a subsequent October 10 update.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with more than a hundred fellow lawmakers, took note of these figures. In a letter addressed to the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury on October 17, they outlined their concerns, labeling cryptocurrency as a potential threat to national security. They emphasized the need for the Biden administration and Congress to take decisive measures to mitigate the risks linked to illicit activities fueled by cryptocurrencies.

Elliptic, however, remained firm, pointing out that the portrayal of cryptocurrencies as a significant fund source for groups like Hamas is a misinterpretation. Chainalysis, another blockchain forensics company, weighed in on the debate on October 18. They debunked a claim about a specific wallet receiving $82 million, clarifying that only $450,000 reached a wallet known to be affiliated with terrorism.

Meanwhile, Elliptic mentioned that Hamas had put a halt to its cryptocurrency fundraising via Bitcoin in April 2023, emphasizing its intent to ensure the safety of its donors.

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