U.S. Urges Global Exchanges to Clamp Down on Hamas Crypto Evasions

US Treasury cites Hamas partially shifting since 2020 to crypto channels like blocked Al-Markaziya exchange alongside traditional laundering to fund recruits and weapons purchases.

Key Insights

  • U.S. blacklisted Hamas financiers aided by Australia, UK, citing terror group’s growing use of cryptocurrency to fund operations.
  • Actions froze assets but did not specify crypto addresses, instead referring to Israel blocking 189 Hamas-linked wallet addresses.
  • Treasury says since 2020, Hamas increased crypto use alongside money changers to fund West Bank activities while evading monitoring.

WASHINGTON – The United States has teamed up with allies including Australia and the UK to add financiers with ties to the Palestinian militant group Hamas to a sanctions blacklist, citing the use of cryptocurrency to fund operations along with other money flows.

The U.S. Treasury’s counterterrorism finance coordinator Brian Nelson said on Monday that Hamas used crypto as one of many channels to facilitate financial transactions in defiance of government authorities.

No specific crypto wallet addresses were named to the Specially Designated Nationals list freezing assets, unlike typical virtual currency sanctions.

Instead, the Treasury pointed to the move by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) to block 189 crypto addresses linked to three Gaza-based exchanges accused of handling Hamas crypto and cash flows.

Read also! Is Cryptocurrency Still a Viable Option for Hamas Funding?

The coordinated actions aim to clamp down on alternative remittances after years of covert Hamas funding transfers using corrupted money changers to launder funds and bypass border checks, the Treasury said.

Since 2020, the press release stated, Hamas shifted to tapping cryptocurrencies in part to help mitigate the risks of physically transporting money required to finance West Bank recruitment and procure weapons.

The multi-jurisdiction asset sweep comes as U.S. federal agencies push for tighter global regulation of the $1 trillion crypto asset sector around tracking ransomware crime and preventing sanctions dodging.

The blacklisting also bars named exchanges like Gaza’s Al-Markaziya from dollar settlements crucial for bridging between virtual coins and traditional cash economies.

Treasury said choking off financial channels remains central to countering security threats posed by Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip, which the United States designates as a terrorist organization.

The partner agencies warned that sanctioned groups’ crypto use will increase compliance demands on market intermediaries worldwide.

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