U.S., U.K. Sanction 'Hamas-Aligned' Gaza Crypto Addresses.

Gaza Now and its founder were sanctioned for aiding Hamas cash donations after the October 7 Israeli attack. Elliptic reported Gaza Now received $21,000 in crypto donations weeks after the attack.

TRM Labs found that most crypto donations are under $500, indicating that crypto donations remain a modest part of terrorist financing. Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas online media platform, was sanctioned by the U.S. and UK for promoting public donations for Hamas after the October 7 Israeli attack.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the U.K.'s Office of Foreign Sanctions Implementation also sanctioned Gaza Now's founder, Mustafa Ayash, another person, and two other entities for working with Gaza Now on multiple fundraising efforts, listing several cryptocurrency addresses they used.

Sanctions targeting Gaza Now and its founder are the latest in a series of similar sanctions against other ‘financial facilitators’ it claims help Hamas, including Gaza-based crypto exchange Buy Cash 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 on Wednesday. “In close coordination with our British partners, the US will continue to leverage our tools to disrupt Hamas’ ability to facilitate further attacks.”

Gaza Now accepted crypto donations for fundraising. However, blockchain research firm Elliptic said that the group only got $21,000 in bitcoin in the weeks after October 7.

TRM Labs, another blockchain research business, concluded that crypto-denominated fundraising for Hamas and other terrorist groups like ISIS is modest. TRM's 2023 Illicit Crypto Economy Report found that three-quarters of terrorism-linked donations were under $500 and 40% under $100. Only 3% of bitcoin donations exceeded $5,000.

The TRM analysis found that Tether (USDT) on the TRON blockchain was the most popular crypto-based terrorist financing entity in 2023, with a 125% increase in TRON addresses tied to terrorist financing. The paper suggests terrorist funding institutions may be lured to TRON due to its cheap gas prices, little price swings, and “a residual – but outdated – perception that it is more difficult to trace.”

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