Palestinian terrorist group Hamas said on Thursday it will stop receiving fundraising via the bitcoin cryptocurrency, citing “hostile” activity against donors.
“This comes out of concern about the safety of donors and to spare them any harm,” the group said in a statement. It said efforts had increased to prevent its supporters from sending it bitcoin.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s largest armed wing, called for “continued donation to Qassam and the resistance by all available means.”
Although cryptocurrency is seen as providing anonymity, developments in technology have enabled authorities to identify those behind crypto transfers. “Many major crypto exchanges now also run ID checks on clients,” Reuters reported.
Gaza economist Mohammad Abu Jayyab told Reuters that Hamas may have feared Israel could reveal donors’ identities. “They may also have preferred to go back to old traditional methods or maybe they figured out more advanced ones,” he said.
In December 2022, the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court issued a ruling approving the Israeli government’s seizure of any and all cryptocurrency assets from digital wallets that have funded terrorism.
Israeli authorities had previously been allowed to seize only those digital assets used to directly finance terrorist activity, but not additional funds in the same wallets.
In 2019, Israeli financial news site Globes reported that Hamas had started raising funds by accepting bitcoin donations through the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase.