BIP Co-Chairs McIntosh & Ryan Send Letter Correcting Sen. Warren, Others, on Inaccurate Hamas Crypto Claims

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Washington, D.C. – Blockchain Innovation Project (BIP) Co-Chairs, Reps. David McIntosh (R-IN) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), issued a letter to all Members of Congress, as well as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson, correcting false claims made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Rep. Sean Casten (D – IL-06) targeting the role of digital assets funding terrorist attacks from both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Warren, Marshall, and Casten had all asserted in a previous letter that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups had raised over $130 million in digital assets between August 2021 and June 2023. Upon further review from Chainalysis, the world’s leading blockchain surveillance firm, it was discovered that roughly only $450,000 of the figures reported ended up in the hands of these terrorist organizations while fiat currencies remained the main source of their funding.

Click here to read the letter.

Blockchain Innovation Project (BIP) is a bipartisan advocate for digital assets. Co-Chaired by former Reps. David McIntosh (R-IN) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), the group brings together the leading Republican free-market political group (Club for Growth Action) and the newest, most effective moderate Democrat PAC with White House ties (Moderate PAC). BIP will advocate for reasonable, limited government regulations of digital assets to maximize innovation, protect consumers, and keep the United States at the forefront of developing blockchain technology.

Click here to learn more about Blockchain Innovation Project. 

Click here to read a recent interview with BIP Co-Chairs David McIntosh and Tim Ryan from Coin Desk.

Click here to read an op-ed from BIP Co-Chairs David McIntosh and Tim Ryan calling to stop Securities and Exchange Commissioner Gary Gensler’s crusade against digital assets. 

LETTER EXCERPTS:

In your recent letter to the Department of the Treasury and the White House, you expressed concern at the role cryptocurrency supposedly played in helping Hamas raise funds and conduct financial transactions. While we all agree that the U.S. must work to monitor and curtail terrorist financing through all available means, your letter is based on heavily flawed reporting that grossly misrepresents Hamas’ use of crypto. It is vital to American interests that cryptocurrency regulation is based on facts, not fear.

Your letter begins with the claim that “Hamas raised millions of dollars in crypto,” estimating a sum in excess of $100 million. The sole source for this statistic is a Wall Street Journal article which itself cites a report reliant on egregiously flawed blockchain analysis methods.

In a recent article, the world’s leading blockchain surveillance firm Chainalysis estimated the true scale of transactions related to Hamas to be around 0.5% of the figures being widely reported – around $450,000. In other words, the true amount of Hamas financing via crypto is likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not in the hundreds of millions. Even if one were to accept these patently false estimates at face value, it is indisputable that Hamas receives the overwhelming majority of its funds via traditional fiat – not cryptocurrency.

In fact, the inherent traceability of cryptocurrency is precisely the reason Hamas suspended its crypto finance campaigns and implored its supporters to cease all Bitcoin donations. In an announcement on April 27 of this year, Hamas’ armed wing, AQB, cited successful government prosecution of crypto donors as the reason all its supporters must cease donations via this technology. Additionally, Israel quickly froze additional crypto accounts that were set up by Hamas after the initial attack. Put simply, it is significantly more difficult to the point of near infeasibility to use crypto for illicit activities such as terrorism.

In the meantime, we ask that you pursue aggressive oversight into how Hamas and other terrorist groups are actually financing their operations, including:

1. What steps can be taken to address the use of American aid by terrorist organizations, including but not limited to Hamas, PIJ, and Hezbollah?

2. Does the Administration have an estimate of how much of its financial contributions to groups like UNRWA have benefited Hamas?

3. To what extent are banks and financial institutions, foreign and domestic, linked to Hamas?

4. Does the Administration have an estimate of how much funding Hamas has received via fiat currency channels compared to cryptocurrency payment rails?

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