U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo says crypto is not the vast majority of the ways terrorist groups are funded, noting that these organizations “continued to use the traditional banking system.” His statements followed media reports claiming that Hamas raised a large sum of money in cryptocurrency.
Crypto Not Major Funding Source for Terrorist Groups
Wally Adeyemo, United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, addressed the role of cryptocurrency in financing terrorist organizations during an interview on Friday with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies.
Several news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, recently reported that Hamas raised millions of dollars in crypto. However, blockchain data analytics firm Elliptic clarified that these media reports misrepresented its data, and there is actually no evidence that Hamas has received large volumes of crypto funds.
Adeyemo said during Friday’s interview:
Today I would say that … the use of crypto is not the vast majority of the ways that these groups are funded.
“I think the way to think about this is that they [crypto] are evolving like everyone else is evolving. When you think about when modern sanctions started to be used in 2001, many of these terrorist groups were using, at that point, the traditional banking system,” he explained, emphasizing:
They continued to use the traditional banking system. That’s why we continue to work with financial institutions.
“But as the modern internet came into play, many of these groups started to fundraise using things like Venmo, Paypal, and these products,” Adeyemo noted. “And we worked closely with those companies to prevent them from being abused by these actors as well.”
The deputy secretary of the Treasury emphasized: “Now that evolution continues and the next source of that is cryptocurrency … We need this industry to work with us to make sure that we are preventing cryptocurrency from being used and abused by Hamas and these groups going forward.” Adeyemo explained:
The thing that we know about terrorist groups, and those who work to move money illicitly, is they’re going to use any new technology to try to do that.
He stressed that the government is taking action now to prevent crypto from becoming the way terrorist groups are funded, noting that the Treasury Department has been going after crypto mixers.
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