Wall Street Journal Report: Hamas Uses Cryptos for its Operations

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Wall Street Journal Report: Hamas Uses Cryptos for its Operations
  • Hamas has reportedly pivoted its financing approaches to cryptos, according to WSJ.
  • BitOK has purportedly proved that digital wallets linked to exchanges used by Hamas received $41 million in cryptos.
  • Hamas has discredited the allegations, clarifying that they stopped using cryptos in April 2023.

The Palestinian political and military organization Hamas has reportedly pivoted its financing approaches to cryptocurrencies, as detailed in a comprehensive investigative news story by the news organization, the Wall Street Journal.

The newly published piece delved into how Hamas, strategized by a Palestinian businessman called Zuhair Shamlakh, used cryptocurrencies for its operations. However, the report says Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing has identified illegal activities known as “hawala.”

For the uninitiated, “hawala,” an informal money transfer system without physical money movement, is a popular alternative remittance channel outside of traditional banking systems. Although it is illegal in most parts of the world, it is still widely practiced, especially in the Middle East region.

With this, the Bureau has seemingly issued seven directives to confiscate crypto funds belonging to three exchange companies in Gaza.

BitOK, a Tel Aviv-based analytics firm, has purportedly reviewed the numbers and proved that digital wallets connected to the exchanges received a total of $41 million in crypto funds. A Reuters report claimed that “a global network of crypto, cash, and charities” funds Hamas.

Concurrently, the WSJ draws attention to the increased regulatory scrutiny present in the crypto space. The news piece further states that over a hundred U.S. politicians signed a letter in October expressing worry that there are “serious national security threats” associated with the use of cryptocurrencies.

Weighing in on the news story, economist Nouriel Roubini shared the article on X (formerly Twitter), “The pivot to digital currencies helped Hamas receive large sums from Iran in the two years preceding the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.”

Yet Hamas has discredited the allegations, as per a Forbes piece. The group clarified that they stopped using cryptocurrencies in April 2023 as it’s “nearly impossible to conceal illegal behavior.” 

Public Policy Director at Riot Platforms Sam Lyman expressed his remark on the WSJ piece, stating that it is “a reminder that these numbers more likely reflect the total volume of crypto that flowed between entities with links to Hamas.”

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