Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is appealing to supporters to send Bitcoin in an effort to evade crippling US sanctions, marking the first time that the armed forces of Hamas have asked for financial support through cryptocurrencies.
According to Al-Jazeera, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades issued a statement through spokesman Abu Obeida, omitting details on how to make donations but making the message clear.
“Support the resistance financially through the bitcoin currency.”
Hamas, which controls Gaza, operates in financial isolation, cut off from aid and support, and listed as a terrorist organization by several countries, including the US and the European Union. While newly appointed Hamas leaders in 2017 reignited financial support from Iran, Iran has been cut off from Swift, the world’s largest messaging network for banks to facilitate the movement of money.
Hamas has also accused Israel of stopping its access to funds, the AFP reports.
While the idea of using Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has spread to countries such as Venezuela, where embattled President Nicolás Maduro has been trying to avoid US sanctions and control government assets, a Bitcoin-fundraising tactic belies secret operations and covert endorsements, as Bitcoin is an open ledger that can be publicly viewed and tracked.