US Senate Financial Committee Chair Ron Wyden asked the crypto community how to tax cryptocurrencies in an open letter.

US Treasury Sanction Hamas-Linked Exchange

  • The US Treasury claims Hamas relies on cryptocurrencies for funding. 
  • Data from Chainalysis revealed that Hamas has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in crypto donations since 2019. 
  • US lawmakers have asked the Biden administration for clarity on how it plans to tackle crypto frauds.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury, on Wednesday, October 18, announced sanctions on financial service providers providing aid to Hamas amidst its ongoing crisis with Israel. OFAC said it had added a “virtual currency exchange and its operator based in Gaza” that had a Bitcoin wallet address to its list of sanctioned entities. 

The company, identified as Buy Cash Money, is a Gaza-based digital exchange that is operated by Gaza resident Khan Yunis. OFAC said Buy Cash and Yunis had ties to Hamas. Interestingly, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorist Finance froze one of Buy Cash’s Bitcoin wallets in June 2021 for alleged ties to Hamas’s funding campaign. 

Sanctions have been a common tactic employed by the US Treasury to reduce financial support for organizations suspected of being involved in terrorism or other illegal activity. The Treasury explained in its announcement that “Buy Cash has also been used to transfer funds by affiliates in other terrorist groups.” The department noted that Buy Cash received $2,000 in BTC to its wallet from a Türkiye-based money operator and an al-Qa’ida affiliate in September 2019. 

Reacting to the news, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement:

We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel. That includes imposing sanctions and coordinating with allies and partners to track, freeze, and seize any Hamas-related assets in their jurisdictions.

In addition to Buy Cash and its founder, OFAC named two top Hamas officials and six others connected to Hamas’s investment portfolio in its sanctions list. Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel earlier this month and Western authorities have worked to limit their access to resources.  

Israeli authorities recently collaborated with cryptocurrency exchange Binance a few days after the attacks to block accounts connected to Hamas on the exchange. Earlier this week, stablecoin issuer, Tether, announced that it had frozen crypto addresses linked to terrorism in Israel and Ukraine. 

Lawrence Woriji
Lawrence Woriji Verified Author

I have covered some exciting stories in my career as a journalist and find blockchain-related stories very intriguing. I believe Web3 will change the world and want everyone to be a part of it.

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