The anonymity feature offered by Bitcoin has made it a useful financial tool even in the hands of terrorists. The al-Nasr Brigades operating under the auspices of Hamas has been using the leading cryptocurrency to raise money and finance its operation due to its inability to access Iranian funds which were once used for fund-raising, according to Jpost on January 19, 2020.
Hamas, A Terrorist Organization Uses Bitcoin to Finance Operations
As reported, Hamas, the Palestinian group labelled by Western governments as “terror organization” is using Bitcoin to finance its operations. This came to light after IDC’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) reviewed a Bitcoin address (1LaNXgq2ctDEa4fTha6PTo8sucqzieQctq) used by a legit website, cash4ps.
ICT discovered that cash4ps is serving as a platform for Hamas to transfer money out of Gaza for operational purposes. Also, donators and beneficiaries using the platform could send and receive Bitcoin anonymously. Also, payments made to the address over the past 4 years show “an irregular increase in the scope of activity”. In addition, the company linked to the Bitcoin address operated an account in a banned bank.
Website Flags Bitcoin Address, Citing Its Use by Terrorists
Further reports reveal that Bitcoinabuse, a website for monitoring fraudulent Bitcoin transactions also labelled the address as “being used for collecting donations to a terror organization”. Also, another party linked to the scheme is the Islamic National Bank, alleged by the U.S. to facilitate terrorist transactions.
On the other hand, as reported, Iran funds al-Nasr Brigades. However, the terrorist group has been low on Iranian funds and as such, fallen back on an alternative for fundraising. And in this case, it is with the use of Bitcoin.
Criminal Uses of Bitcoin Raises Concerns
News of this nature has been part of the reason why many have outlined that the anonymity offered by cryptocurrencies is serving as a useful tool for criminals. It enables them to send and receive money seamlessly, without revealing their identity.
U.S President, Donald Trump, for instance, stated that he is not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to President Trump, these assets are not money, however, used to facilitate criminal activities. On the same note, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said cryptocurrencies have been “exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking.”