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Hamas Plays Whack-a-Mole Crypto Wallet While Raising $7,400 in Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM

By CCN.com: The military wing of Hamas, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, is upping its crypto game by soliciting bitcoin in a bid to deter tracking.

With its crowdfunding operation using cryptocurrencies having attracted undue attention, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades is now generating a new digital wallet for every donation received. This is according to research conducted by blockchain analysis firm Elliptic and reported by Reuters .

Previously, the group that’s classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the United States used a single wallet. Researchers now say that this makes keeping track of the group’s crypto fundraising operation harder. With a single well-known digital wallet, it is easier for such an address to be flagged and for cryptocurrency exchanges to block transactions. But with digital wallets being frequently changed, it becomes harder to implement such an anti-terrorism measure.

Bitcoin Fundraising Exercise Not Wildly Successful

Despite its best efforts, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades has been mildly successful with its crowdfunding exercise. Elliptic estimates that Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades has raised less the two bitcoins since the fundraising exercise kicked off.

Specifically, the group generated $7,400 which translates to around 1.4 bitcoin at current prices. Approximately, 0.6 bitcoin was sent between March 26 and April 16 this year. Early February Hamas had collected $2,500 via this method.

While Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades incurs no risk in generating new digital wallets for every new transaction, its users do. This is especially so when the donors are based in western countries.

Does Hamas Care About the Risks Their Donors are Taking?

In a video  which Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades posted on its website, the organization suggests several organizations from which to purchase cryptocurrency. This includes exchanges in the U.S. and Europe. This puts donors at risk since they leave a paper trail as identification is required to register.

Perhaps aware of this, Reuters reported that most of the donors used cryptocurrency exchanges based in Asia.

Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades also urges users to be cautious in sending donations. This includes advising them not to share the address generated with anyone else.

To evade detection the group advises users not to disclose the recipient when directing exchanges to send the money to the address generated. The organization also seems to prefer users buying bitcoin using credit cards and then sending the funds directly from their wallets.

When creating bitcoin wallets, the organization also urges users to use public addresses in order to avoid the IP address being traced back to them.

Hamas Likes These Bitcoin Exchanges

In what is most likely done without authorization, the group recommends six well-known crypto exchanges to donors.

Cryptocurrency exchanges that Hamas’ military wing recommends to donors | Source: alqassam.net

This is not the first time the growing sophistication of Hamas’ military wing is being reported. Late last month former CIA analyst and national security expert Yaya Fanusie wrote in Forbes  that Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades’ website was generating unique addresses for every visitor.

Stating that the group had ‘climbed high up the crypto learning curve in just a few months’, Fanusie noted that this was an indication of Hamas’ growing caution regarding crypto operational security.