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The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has once again sanctioned on-chain wallets, this time targeting “financial facilitators” and other parties supporting Hamas.
One such entity includes a company called “Buy Cash,” a virtual currency and money transfer business in Gaza. Buy Cash’s domain was registered in 2015 by Ahmed M. M. Alaqad, a resident of Gaza and the owner of the exchange, who OFAC has also added to its blacklist.
Back in June 2021, one of the exchange’s Bitcoin wallets was frozen by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorist Financing for connection to a Hamas fundraising campaign.
“Buy Cash has also been used to transfer funds by affiliates in other terrorist groups,” the Treasury explained in its announcement on Wednesday. In September 2019, the exchange received $2,000 in BTC to its wallet from a Türkiye-based “money services business operator and al-Qa’ida affiliate.”
Two years prior, the exchange also allowed a Buy Cash account to be registered under the names of individuals involved in payment for online infrastructure on behalf of ISIS.
“Hamas often relies on small-dollar donations, including through the use of virtual currency,” the Treasury wrote. Since 2019, Data from Chainalysis shows that Hamas has used crypto to receive tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
Besides Buy Cash and its founder, OFAC’s sanctions targeted six individuals tied to Hamas’s investment portfolio, and another two senior Hamas officials.
The sanctions are part of a sweeping effort to support Israel in its conflict with Hamas after deadly attacks carried out by the Islamist organization against Israeli civilians earlier this month.
Days after the attacks, Israeli police collaborated with crypto exchange Binance to freeze Hamas-tied accounts on the platform. Tether, the world’s largest stablecoin issuer, also announced freezes on crypto addresses connected to terrorism in both Ukraine and Israel earlier this week.
In response to Bitcoin fundraising efforts by Hamas, over 100 U.S. policymakers petitioned the Biden administration on Wednesday for more info on how it plans to "prevent crypto-financed terrorism."