Hamas, a known Palestinian Islamic group which has fought several wars against Israel, has reportedly turned to cryptocurrencies to gather donations from its supporters. In an announcement published on the group’s Telegram account last Tuesday, the spokesperson of Hamas military wing revealed difficulties in getting funds for the Palestinian resistance.
Two days after the announcement was published, Hamas posted a Bitcoin address on their Telegram account, stating that they can receive donations in cryptocurrency. Researchers from the Israeli blockchain intelligence startup, Whitestream, managed to decode the address, revealing that it leads to the digital wallet owned by the biggest US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase.
Hamas accepting Bitcoin donations through Coinbase
The discovery is significant for several reasons. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the US and EU, among others, meaning that they should not be allowed to use Coinbase due to KYC and AML procedures. Additionally, the fact that they do use the exchange’s wallet also implies that the organization is not in control of their private key.
After the connection between Coinbase and the address posted by Hamas came to light, the group’s military wing replaced the original address with another one on Saturday. The new address is connected to a digital wallet which seemingly has no relation to Coinbase.
According to Whitestream, only two minor Bitcoin donations amounting to around $2,500 were made within the two days after the first address was published. One of the donations was sent from a “Buy Cash” trader in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, while the other one came from a wallet connected to Binance and Russia-based Vilkov exchanges.
The new address also received several donations, coming from the wallets connected to Coinbase, Bitrex, Binance, Vilkov, as well as from the crypto mixing service called the coinMixer.io.