Bitcoin
BitcoiniStock

The armed wing of the Hamas terrorist group announced on Thursday it would stop receiving fundraising via the cryptocurrency bitcoin, a method it has used for years, citing an increase in "hostile" activity against donors, according to Reuters.

"This comes out of concern about the safety of donors and to spare them any harm," the group said in a statement quoted by the news agency, adding that it had seen increased efforts to prevent people and groups sending it bitcoin funds.

The group, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, renewed its call for "continued donation to Qassam and the resistance by all available means."

The IDF declined to comment on the Hamas statement, though Channel 12 News noted on Friday that Israel recently succeeded in confiscating crypto wallets and digital accounts of donors to Hamas, despite the anonymity that a bitcoin donation is supposed to allow.

In 2021, then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order for the seizure of cryptocurrencies in the amount of 2.6 million shekels from the al-Mathaddon exchange company which was linked to Hamas in Gaza.

Several months later, Gantz signed a similar a seizure order for cryptocurrency amounting to tens of thousands of shekels from 12 digital accounts.

Hamas had endorsed crypto as a fundraising method for years, previously developing sophisticated tactics to solicit bitcoin donations, noted Reuters.

In 2020, the US broke up efforts by the military wing of Hamas, as well as by Al-Qaeda and Islamic State to raise funds via cryptocurrency, seizing some $2 million worth of crypto.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)