Investigations based on Israeli government seizure orders and blockchain analytics have revealed that Hamas, along with other militant groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah, received millions of dollars in cryptocurrency funding before the attack on Israel. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, PIJ received up to $93 million in cryptocurrency between August 2021 and June 2023, while Hamas received approximately $41 million in cryptocurrency during the same period. The recent attack by Hamas on Israel has raised concerns about Israeli intelligence agencies and their ability to intercept major attacks on the country. Despite being designated as terrorist organizations and facing sanctions, Hamas, PIJ, and Hezbollah have continued to raise donations and acquire weapons. However, it is unclear whether cryptocurrency directly financed the attack. Cryptocurrency transactions provide instant and anonymous transfers, making it difficult for authorities to trace and regulate. Hamas has actively sought cryptocurrency funds since 2019, primarily using its Telegram channel to request bitcoin donations. They have used payment processors to generate cryptocurrency addresses and obscure the true source of their funds, making it challenging for investigators to track transactions. While cryptocurrency is just one fundraising method used by these militant groups, it presents unique challenges for authorities. Smuggling physical currency across borders is risky and easily detectable, while cryptocurrency offers a discreet and efficient means of transferring funds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a report highlighting the failure of many decentralized finance (DeFi) services to implement anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations. Some DeFi services are not subject to existing AML/CFT regulations, and some jurisdictions lack robust controls in the realm of DeFi.
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