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Crypto Terrorism Funding Data in WSJ Report Sees Corrections

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Crypto terrorism funding has been an issue under discussion for quite some time but saw a peak during the recent attack of Hamas on Israel. The reports floated all over alleging digital assets were heavily used to fund terrorist activities. Wall Street Journal was among the prominent names to throw the numbers to be in millions USD. These numbers were misquoted and misrepresented and now WSJ has made the necessary corrections. 

WSJ edited the article published on the website on October 10, 2023. The article talked about how ‘Hamas Militants Behind Israel Attack Raised Million in Crypto.’ It sourced the information from blockchain data aggregators and noted that the Gaza-based terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) raised about $93 Million in funding through crypto. 

The news outlet cited Elliptic, a prominent blockchain investigating platform, about the amount that the terrorist group raised in the form of crypto assets. These groups were said to accumulate a significant amount between August 2021 to June 2023. 

However, Elliptic recently showed up and clarified that the numbers of crypto fundings received by PIJ and Hamas were ‘misrepresented.’ It called out that the digital asset terror funding might be relatively meager in comparison to the funds raised through traditional financial mediums like cash or hawala, etc. 

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) corrected its previous statement regarding the exchange of cryptocurrency between Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hezbollah. The corrected information indicates that PIJ and Hezbollah “may have exchanged” up to $12 Million in cryptocurrency since 2021, which is significantly less than the initial figure of $93 Million. 

The correction is based on the findings of crypto-research firm Elliptic and the article now provides additional context about this research.

Crypto Terrorism Funding Data in WSJ Report Sees Corrections
Source – WSJ

Elliptic Highlighted the Need for Correction

Elliptic reportedly stated earlier that Hamas began collecting Bitcoin donations in 2019, suspending public fundraising in April to protect donor anonymity. However, these fundraising efforts were reactivated after the October 7th attack on Israel. 

Elliptic discovered that the group amassed $21,000 in cryptocurrency donations during these recent efforts, but a significant portion of these funds has been confiscated due to regulatory actions by authorities.

In the days following Hamas’ attack on Israel, approximately a hundred U.S. lawmakers, including Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both political parties, signed a letter. This letter raised concerns about the potential use of cryptocurrency by terrorist organizations. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren played a prominent role in advocating the letter, which referenced the claim that groups like Hamas had raised millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. The letter cited a report from the Wall Street Journal to support these allegations.

Now that the WSJ report, which started the ripple effect in the form of almost a revolt against crypto, saw changes, it’s not clear what the lawmakers’ stance will be. Some crypto community members such as Castle Island Ventures Partner Nic Carter are calling to take back the letter. 

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