Defense Ministry starts seizing Bitcoin being used by Hamas
According to the Defense Ministry, it has taken control of digital wallets that are being used by Hamas terrorist group and contain virtual currencies from overseas donors.
The ministry stated that Benny Gantz , Defense Minister, approved the seizing of a number of digital wallets after a joint operation “uncovered a webof electronic wallets” used by Hamas to raise money using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
After the bruising 11-day conflict in May, Hamas was able to raise funds from abroad through its stockpiles of cryptocurrency.
The Defense Ministry was able to seize Bitcoin payments in addition to Ethereum and Tether, as per the 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law.
Gantz was quoted in the statement as saying that ‘The intelligence and technological tools that allow us to get our hands onto terrorists’ funds around the globe constitute an operational breakthrough’.
Noa Moshiach (CEO of the Israeli Bitcoin Association) stated that the news shows the safety of digital currency.
Moshiach stated that Bitcoin’s safety is proven by the forfeiture and seizure of Hamas’s donations. “Criminals who use this financial system will discover the hard way that an open transaction log, or the blockchain, will expose and permit law enforcement agencies to take action against them.
Moshiach stated that the seizure was a significant improvement on the ban against money laundering and over international accounts kept behind a bank secrecy barrier. This news proves even more that Israeli regulators need to ‘adopt’ and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies. “It makes it possible for the bad guys to be exposed and the good guys can do the right thing with the evil.”
Profero’s CEO Omri Segev Myal said that the digital footprint of currency trading exchanges like Profero allows security operatives to sneak in.
Moyal stated that once you cross the blockchain boundaries to access the trading platforms, your anonymity is immediately lost. Then, as in this case, the states and law enforcement agencies can locate and freeze terrorist and criminal currencies.
“In addition, once the network is fully exposed, it’s possible to very precisely track the movement of coins and determine their final destination.”
The United States Justice Department reported last year that it had seize millions of dollars from cryptocurrency accounts used by terrorist groups like al-Qaida or the Islamic State to fund their violent plots and organizations. Officials from law enforcement said that they had seized more 150 cryptocurrency accounts, which were used to launder funds for and from Hamas accounts.