The military wing of Hamas, an organization designated as a terrorist group in the United States and in Europe that controls the Gaza Strip, has reportedly managed to raise $7,400 worth of bitcoin while experimenting with cryptocurrency fundraising.
According to Reuters report, the Gaza-based Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades have been calling on supporters to donate cryptocurrency to its fundraising campaign, with the first donation request appearing in January.
As reported, it came through an Instagram post, but asked donations to go to a single BTC wallet. As CryptoGlobe covered the al-Qassam Brigades attempted to receive the cryptocurrency donations through Coinbase, which may have blocked its address.
Per leading blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, the group’s tactics have recently changed, as now its website generates a new bitcoin wallet after every transaction. This makes it harder for organizations to keep track of the group’s cryptocurrencies, and for exchanges to block their addresses.
Reuters’ report notes that between March 26 and April 16, the group raised roughly $3,300 through bitcoin, and that in its four-month fundraising campaign it managed to get $7,400. Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s co-founder, was quoted as saying:
They are still in experimentation stage - trying it out, seeing how much they can raise, and whether it works.
This, as the funds raised via cryptocurrency are a fraction of the “tens of millions of dollars” in funding Israel and the United States claim Hamas receives from Iran. Hamas has been cash-strapped as in 2013 Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi closed tunnels used to smuggle weapons and goods.
Funds coming from Iran have reportedly also been declining, as analysts claim Hamas’s condemnation of moves in Syria’s civil war didn’t benefit it financially.
Guiding Donators Step-By-Step
Reuters’ report adds that the al-Qassam Brigades have a two-mine video on their website, in which they offer potential donors step-by-step instructions on how to donate cryptocurrency and avoid the traditional financial system.
The video reportedly explains how to send bitcoin directly, through cryptocurrency exchanges, and through a money-exchange office. It notes:
Use a public device so that the wallet is not linked to your IP address
Firms tracking the bitcoin donated to Hamas noted it then sent funds to a “major Asia-based cryptocurrency exchange,” with some of the donations being made from a separate, Asia-based exchange. These trading platforms weren’t named, and whether its BTC was converted to fiat is unclear.