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Last Updated : Aug 21, 2019 04:10 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Palestinian militant group Hamas starts accepting Bitcoin to raise money: Report

An increased number of Islamist terror organisations are exploiting and experimenting with digital coin technology for terror financing

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Screengrab from qassam.ps
Screengrab from qassam.ps

Palestinian militant group Hamas was unable to use traditional financial systems to raise money after they were designated a “terror outfit” by multiple Western countries. So, its military wing devised a way to raise funds using Bitcoin technology.

Everyone who visits the latest version of their website Qassam Brigades is given a Bitcoin wallet address, which they can use to send the digital currency. What is alarming is such a channel remains largely untraceable, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track down people who are funding such outfits.

The multi-lingual site, which also bears the brigades’ logo, even features a crafty video explaining how to purchase and donate Bitcoin without letting the authorities get a whiff of the transactions.

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In fact, terror outfits were probably some of the last criminal elements to join the Bitcoin bandwagon, which has been exploited in the past to indulge in several illegal activities.

As per a New York Times report, government authorities have finally raised an alarm after observing that an increased number of Islamist terror organisations are exploiting and experimenting with digital coin technology for terror financing.

While the amount collected as such might not be staggering, often amounting to a maximum of tens of thousands of dollars, law enforcers have pointed out that a lot of terrorist attacks can be executed with very little money. Moreover, these terror groups are learning the sophisticated use of cryptocurrencies real fast and well.

Commenting on the developments, Yaya Fanusie, a former analyst at Central Intelligence Agency, said: “You are going to see more of this. This module will become a part of the terror financing mix, and people should start paying attention to it.”

Notably, cryptocurrencies have always been lucrative to lawbreakers because it allows the possession and transfer of money sans the surveillance of a central authority. Besides, literally anybody can create a Bitcoin address to receive funds anonymously.

 

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First Published on Aug 21, 2019 04:10 pm
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