Crypto Addresses of ‘Hamas-Aligned’ Gaza Now Is Sanctioned by U.S, U.K.

Crypto Addresses of ‘Hamas-Aligned’ Gaza Now Is Sanctioned by U.S, U.K.

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  • Gaza Now and its founder have been sanctioned for facilitating financial donations for Hamas in the wake of the October 7 attack in Israel

  • Elliptic found that Gaza Now received $21,000 in crypto-denominated donations in the weeks after the attack

  • Crypto donations continue to be a small slice of the overall terrorist financing landscape, with most donations are under $500 according to a new report from TRM Labs

Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas online media channel, has been jointly sanctioned by the U.S. and the United Kingdom for facilitating public fundraising for Hamas in the wake of the October 7 attack in Israel.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the U.K.’s Office of Foreign Sanctions Implementation also issued sanctions against Gaza Now’s founder, Mustafa Ayash, as well as another person and two other entities they claim were working with Gaza Now on multiple fundraising efforts, listing several cryptocurrency addresses Ayash and Gaza Now used to raise funds.

The sanctions against Gaza Now and its founder are the latest in a string of similar sanctions against other ‘financial facilitators’ it has said are supporting Hamas – including Buy Cash, a Gaza-based crypto exchange and its owner in October 2023.

“Treasury remains committed to degrading Hamas’ ability to finance its terrorist activities, including through online fundraising campaigns that seek to funnel money directly to the group,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson in a Wednesday press statement. “The United States, in close coordination with our British partners, will continue to leverage our tools to disrupt Hamas’ ability to facilitate further attacks.”

As part of its fundraising attempts, Gaza Now accepted crypto donations. But crypto made up only a small slice of its overall efforts: according to blockchain research firm Elliptic, the group only received $21,000 in crypto in the weeks after October 7.

The figure tracks with new research from another blockchain research firm, TRM Labs, which found that crypto-denominated fundraising for Hamas and other terrorist organizations, including ISIS, tends to be small in scale.

According to TRM’s 2023 Illicit Crypto Economy Report, three-quarters of terrorism-linked donations last year were under $500 – and 40% were under $100. Only 3% of crypto donations were over $5,000.

Of the terrorist financing entities using crypto, however, Tether (USDT) on the TRON blockchain was the most popular choice in 2023, with a 125% increase in TRON addresses linked to terrorist financing last year, according to the TRM report.

According to the report, terrorist financing entities could be drawn to TRON for its relatively low gas fees, minimal price fluctuations and “a residual – but outdated – perception that it is more difficult to trace.”

Nikhilesh De edited this story.

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