Hamas, an organization designated as a terrorist group in the United States and Europe that controls the Gaza Strip, has reportedly tried to receive bitcoin donations from its supporters via Coinbase, a move that may have been botched by the San Francisco-based firm.
According to Globes, Israel-based blockchain intelligence startup Whitestream managed to track down bitcoin donations after the cash-strapped organization published its address on a Telegram group for supporters.
Per the news outlet, Israel has allowed a transfer of $15 million a month from Qatar to the Gaza Strip, an amount that seemingly isn’t enough for the organization, which controls the region. As CryptoGlobe covered, Hamas military wings’ spokesperson Abu Obeida asked for BTC donations via Instagram, where he stated that:
The Zionist enemy fights the Palestinian resistance by trying to cut aid to the resistance by all means, but lovers of resistance around the world fight these Zionist attempts and seek all possible means to aid the resistance.
Days later, the group shared its address and started receiving funds. Whitestream, founded by Itsik Levy and Uri Bornstein, reportedly tracked the transactions, and managed to identify Hamas’ address as a Coinbase one. Its findings are said to have been sent to security agencies.
Donations Came From the Gaza Strip
Notably, Globes adds that days later another bitcoin address was shared to receive donations. This second address is said not to be related to Coinbase. It was share after the first address received “two relatively small bitcoin donations” amounting to “only $2,500.”
These donations reportedly came from a bitcoin trader in Khan Yunis, a small town located in the Gaza Strip, and from wallets “connected to … cryptocurrencies exchange Binance and Russian cryptocurrencies exchange Vilkov.”
Hamas’ second bitcoin donations address has reportedly also received funds coming from wallets associated with cryptocurrency exchanges Bittrex, Coinbase, Binance, and Vilkov, as well as from a cryptocurrency mixing service called CoinMixer. Note that these transactions don’t necessarily mean that the exchanges supported the organization, but likely that its users withdrew funds directly to Hamas’ address.
Per Levy, Hamas may have had to publish a second BTC address because the first one could have been blocked by Coinbase. This, as it could be violating the company’s terms of service, which state it’s “likely to conduct checks in order to prevent fraud, money laundering, financing of terrorism, and other financial crimes.”