A letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen expresses concerns about the potential misuse of digital assets by the terrorist organization Hamas. Signed by 57 members of Congress, the letter highlights claims that Hamas-linked digital wallets received approximately $41 million, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad-linked digital wallets received about $93 million between August 2021 and June 2023.
The letter acknowledges the uncertainty surrounding the current control of these funds by Hamas, noting that the organization ceased its digital asset fundraising campaign in April. It emphasizes the need to consider the campaign’s scope and outlines how Hamas targeted exchanges associated with “adversarial jurisdictions,” including Garantex in Russia, Buy Cash in Gaza, and Binance.
The signatories of the letter seek clarification from Congress on several aspects of Hamas’s digital asset fundraising campaign. These include the identification of digital wallets linked to Hamas or affiliated terrorist organizations, the timeframe of the fundraising campaign, any actions taken by the U.S. to block or seize digital assets, and the proportion of digital assets compared to traditional assets.
The letter sets a deadline of November 29 for responses from Biden and Yellen, with the option of scheduling a classified briefing if necessary.
In related news, Binance’s Senior Counter-Terrorism Official, Jennifer Hicks, has reportedly left the cryptocurrency exchange after nearly two years. Hicks, previously associated with Chainalysis and the U.S. Navy, left Binance this month, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The departure comes amidst increased scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges, particularly Binance, in the context of counter-terrorism procedures and know-your-customer practices. Concerns about the role of cryptocurrency in terrorism financing have gained attention in the U.S., with demands from lawmakers for more information on Hamas’s potential use of crypto.
However, blockchain forensics firm Elliptic has contested the accuracy of recent figures portraying the scale of crypto fundraising by terrorist groups. The broader regulatory scrutiny of trading platforms, especially in the U.S., has elevated the importance of stringent compliance measures in the cryptocurrency industry.
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