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‘Send Bitcoin’: Palestinian Islamist Group Hamas Begs for Crypto Donations Amid Crippling Sanctions

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:53 PM
Samantha Chang
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:53 PM

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is begging for bitcoin donations due to the financial isolation it’s suffering as a result of US and Israeli economic sanctions.

“Support the resistance financially through the Bitcoin currency,” a rep for Hamas’ military wing urged in a statement soliciting crypto contributions. Hamas also accused Israel of trying to cut off its access to funds around the world.

‘No Immediate Reply From Bitcoin’

“There was no immediate reply from Bitcoin,” the Times of Israel  jokingly reported.

Hamas is reportedly on the brink of insolvency after the Palestinian National Authority ― the interim body that governs the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ― cut off much of its funding to the Strip.

Hamas-Backer Iran Is Mining Bitcoin

Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist network that is largely funded by Iran.

However, Iran is in the midst of a financial crisis due to harsh US economic sanctions that have crippled its economy. As a result, Iran has begun using cryptocurrencies and even started mining bitcoin to circumvent the sanctions.

Iran is also reportedly considering launching its own cryptocurrency after President Donald Trump imposed a new wave of sanctions in November 2018.

There’s widespread belief among people outside the crypto community that virtual currencies are mainly used for criminal activity like money-laundering, tax evasion, and terrorism financing.

“Bitcoin has become the PayPal of the dark web,” according to a 2017 report  from the University of Technology Sydney Business School. However, these claims were disputed by the Quebec government’s Chief Scientist’s Office.

Report: Bitcoin Is Not a Magnet for Crime

The Quebecois government found there is no meaningful connection between bitcoin and criminal activity, as CCN.com reported.

Moreover, it says bitcoin transactions are not anonymous and can often be easily tracked by law enforcement agencies. The Quebec government’s Chief Scientist said:

Bitcoin is not above the law, nor is it a magnet for illicit transactions. It forms only a tiny part of the criminal money circulating around the planet. The reason: it is less attractive for anyone who wants to make transactions without leaving a trace.

Meanwhile, the perception of crypto’s link to criminal activity persists. And this is often cited as a key roadblock to mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.

BlackRock CEO: Crypto Industry Is Not Legitimate

Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock — the world’s largest asset manager — vowed that his investment firm would never launch a bitcoin ETF until the industry becomes “legitimate.”

“It will ultimately have to be backed by a government,” Fink said. “I don’t sense that any government will allow that unless they have a sense of where that money’s going.”