- U.S. lawmakers want clarity on the government’s efforts to curb crypto-funded terrorism.
- The lawmakers raised their concerns in a bipartisan letter.
- Some reports claim that crypto terrorism financing fears are overblown.
Over 100 U.S. lawmakers have called out President Biden’s administration’s laxity toward curbing the use of crypto in financing global terrorism.
The development comes on the heels of allegations that Islamist organization Hamas raised millions of dollars in crypto over the past two years before launching attacks on Israel.
The Bipartisan Letter
Under the stewardship of Senators Elizabeth Warren, Roger Marshall, and Representative Sean Casten, 102 lawmakers wrote a bipartisan letter to the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on October 18, raising grave concerns about using crypto in global terrorism.
In particular, the lawmakers are concerned about reports that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) used crypto to evade U.S. sanctions and fund the group’s operations with millions of dollars.
“Between August 2021 and this past June, (Hamas and PIJ) raised over $130 million in crypto and moved millions among each other, ‘with PIJ sending over $12 million in crypto to Hezbollah since 2023,” the lawmakers stated.
In response to the allegations, the lawmakers have requested the government to clarify a range of issues, including the steps taken by the administration to curb crypto-funded terrorism, the exact value of money that Hamas raised using crypto, and the challenges the administration faces in resolving the issue.
The lawmakers, quoting reports, also averred that Hamas held crypto accounts at Binance. They wanted the government to clarify if it has any information about the actors facilitating crypto-funded terrorism.
Crypto Exchanges on the Spotlight
According to the lawmakers, some actors are “facilitating the exchange of cryptocurrency for other assets, including weapons,” between terrorist organizations like Hamas, PIJ, and Hezbollah.
The allegation comes after Coinbase announced new measures to combat terrorism financing on October 17. To prevent the exploitation of crypto in funding terrorism, specifically among Hamas, the exchange has rolled out a new program for advanced Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, sanctions screening, and suspicious activity reporting.
While it is generally concerning that crypto might be used in terrorism financing, a recent report by Chainalysis dismisses these fears as overblown.
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