Israeli NGO Accuses Hamas of Using Coinbase to Raise Funds

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Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, an Israeli civil rights NGO, believes that Hamas, the militant Islamic Palestinian nationalist movement, is using Coinbase to raise cryptocurrency funds, The Jerusalem Post reported on February 13, 2019.

Analytics Links Hamas to Coinbase Accounts

Hamas, a controversial Palestinian military-political group, recognized as a terrorist organization by the governments of the United States and Israel, has been linked to a Coinbase account. Whitestream, an Israeli blockchain analytics company, linked multiple blockchain wallets on the exchange to the military group, Globes reported on February 3, 2019.  

And while some of the wallets the company identified were featured on Hamas’ official website, others have been kept private from the public. The organization used the address to ask for donations in bitcoin to “support the resistance.”

Receiving donations in cryptocurrencies isn’t prohibited by law, but funneling the funds through a foreign-based exchange could pose a problem for Hamas. According to Globes, this breaches the policy for using Coinbase’s services, which are subject to the laws of the 42 countries in which it operates.

Threats of Lawsuit 

Following the report published by Whitestream, Israeli Law Center Shurat HaDin has put Coinbase on notice. According to a February 13, 2019, report from The Jerusalem Post, Shurat HaDin’s founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote a letter to Coinbase CEO and crypto billionaire Brian Armstrong, warning him of illegal activities his company was used in.

“I am writing to notify Coinbase that knowingly providing material support or resources to Hamas is a violation of U.S. federal criminal law, and to demand that Coinbase immediately terminate any and all accounts and services provided to Hamas,” she said in the note.

Darshan-Leitner also added that the provision of support to Hamas could render Coinbase both criminally and civilly liable under the United States Anti-Terrorism law. All transactions with Hamas, including providing or receiving any property or services, have been banned in the U.S. since 1995, the note explained.

The Shurat HaDin Law Center urged Coinbase and other exchanges to review the list of designated terrorists published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to ensure they comply with federal laws. The center also reserved the right to take legal action against Coinbase without any additional notice, Darshan-Leitner added in the note.

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