- Elliptic, a blockchain forensic firm, has stated that there is “no evidence” to support claims of Hamas receiving significant volumes of cryptocurrency donations to fund attacks against Israel.
- The firm has responded to recent misinterpretations of data in articles and letters by U.S. lawmakers, clarifying the actual amounts raised and actions taken to freeze illicit funds.
In a recent statement, blockchain forensic firm Elliptic has categorically denied claims of Hamas receiving substantial cryptocurrency donations for funding attacks against Israel. The firm emphasizes that the volumes of crypto donations remain minimal, challenging narratives that have circulated in the media and among U.S. lawmakers.
Setting the record straight on crypto crowdfunding by Hamas https://t.co/1tZrE1C43V
— Elliptic (@elliptic) October 25, 2023
Transparency and Tracing in Blockchain Transactions
Elliptic’s expertise in blockchain analytics allows for a nuanced understanding of cryptocurrency transactions. The firm has highlighted a particular fundraising campaign by Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas news outlet, which managed to raise a mere $21,000 since the Hamas attack on October 7. This amount, already modest, was further diminished as actions were taken to freeze $11,000 of the funds, showcasing the effectiveness of monitoring and intervention in the crypto space.
Critiquing misinterpretations of data, Elliptic pointed out inaccuracies in an article by The Wall Street Journal, which initially claimed that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad raised over $130 million in cryptocurrency between August 2021 and June 2023. The publication later amended this figure to “as much as $93 million” after Elliptic reached out for a correction.
This article was notably referenced in a letter by Senator Elizabeth Warren and over 100 other U.S. lawmakers, sent to the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In it, the lawmakers portrayed cryptocurrency as a “national security threat” and called for stringent measures to mitigate the risks associated with digital assets in financing illicit activities.
Cryptocurrency: A Less Than Ideal Tool for Illicit Fundraising
Elliptic’s response stands as a corrective to these portrayals, emphasizing the limited scale of crypto fundraising for terrorist groups and highlighting the transparency that blockchain technology brings to financial transactions. By enabling the tracing of funds and, in certain cases, the identification of individuals behind transactions, blockchain acts as a deterrent to illicit fundraising.
The firm also referenced a decision by Hamas in April 2023 to halt Bitcoin fundraising, citing concerns for donor safety. This, alongside actions by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing to seize cryptocurrency wallets connected to Hamas, further underlines the challenges that terrorist groups face when attempting to use cryptocurrency for fundraising.
Elliptic’s statement, supported by data and a thorough understanding of blockchain technology, serves as a critical intervention in the ongoing discourse around cryptocurrency and its potential misuse. The transparency inherent in blockchain transactions acts as a powerful tool in the fight against illicit fundraising, providing a level of scrutiny and traceability that is unparalleled.