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Binance Freezes Hamas Accounts After Israeli Request

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Binance Halts Accounts Linked to Hamas in Response to Israeli Appeal
Binance Halts Accounts Linked to Hamas in Response to Israeli Appeal

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Binance said it has frozen accounts linked to the Hamas militant group after its surprise attack on Israel on Saturday.

The world’s largest crypto exchange acted in response to a request from Israel, it said. The action was aimed specifically at Hamaz, and not the broader Palestinian population, co-founder Yi He said via the WeChat social media platform on Oct. 10.

Binance Said It Had To Cooperate

“Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by the United Nations,” Yi said. “Any organization, including banks and trading platforms, will need to cooperate on the receipt of freeze requests. This is not something Binance can decide on its own. Hamas is a local militant group. They kill civilians; that’s the problem”

Binance explanation
Binance explanation (Source: WeChat)

Israeli authorities, in a coordinated effort by the Israel Police’s Cyber Unit, the Ministry of Defense, and national intelligence agencies, have taken measures to block crypto accounts that Hamas was allegedly using to raise funds for its operations. 

Hamas’ History with Crypto Fundraising

Hamas began using digital currencies for fundraising in February 2019 as a way to collect money while avoiding international sanctions. This strategy enabled it to gather a substantial amount of funds, as disclosed by the blockchain analysis company Chainalysis.

But in April 2023, the military division of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades, declared the discontinuation of its cryptocurrency donation program. The decision was influenced by the growing effectiveness of government initiatives aimed at identifying and pursuing donors, which made it increasingly challenging for them to continue operating in this manner.

The Israeli government’s actions against terrorist financing have not been limited to Hamas. In a few weeks following the announcement of its exit from the crypto fundraising arena, Israeli authorities seized a substantial $1.7 million worth of cryptocurrency from accounts associated with other terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force. The United States has designated both of these groups as terrorist organizations and effectively cut them off from the traditional global financial system.

Escalation in Israel-Palestine Conflict

The freezing of these accounts comes against the backdrop of an escalation in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Palestinian militant groups, primarily led by Hamas, launched a wave of attacks Israel on Oct. 7 from the Gaza Strip, named “Operation al-Aqsa Flood.” In response, Israel said it’s at war. Israel’s retaliation has involved heavy airstrikes in Gaza, leading to civilian casualties and displacements.

Previously, Inside Bitcoins reported that the local Web3 community in Israel initiated a charitable effort to aid Israeli citizens impacted by the current conflict. This initiative, known as “Crypto Aid Israel,” accepts contributions in the form of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and other ERC-20 tokens like Tether (USDT).  Since its launch, this campaign has gathered close to $50,000 in cryptocurrency donations.

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