Israeli authorities have seized Binance accounts used by Hamas and the Islamic State to fund their activities, highlighting the need for global efforts to prevent terrorism financing through crypto. As Israel works on important crypto regulation, read on to learn more about the issue and Binance’s response.
In a recent report by Reuters, it has been revealed that Israeli authorities have seized accounts on Binance that were being used by Hamas and the Islamic State. This move was made as part of the country’s efforts to combat terrorism and its financing. Binance, in response, stated that it works hard to ensure compliance and takes action against bad actors.
Hamas and Islamic State Using Crypto Exchanges to Fund Activities
Reports suggest that Hamas and the Islamic State have been using accounts on the popular crypto exchange, Binance, to fund their activities.
The Israeli authorities seized these accounts to tackle terrorism. It is unclear how much cryptocurrency was seized, and whether other exchanges were also monitored.
Israel Seizes 190 Accounts Since 2021
According to the National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing (NBCTF), Israeli authorities have seized roughly 190 accounts since 2021, with the most recent being on Jan. 12. The focus seems to be on seizing accounts on crypto exchanges.
Binance Responds to Reuters Report
Binance responded to the Reuters report in a blog post titled “Our Response to Reuters.” The exchange stated that Reuters was “deliberately leaving out critical facts to fit their narrative.” Binance emphasized that it takes more steps than other exchanges to keep bad actors off the platform.
Binance’s Compliance Measures
Binance stated that the true measures of compliance for a crypto exchange are the steps it takes to identify and react to suspicious deposits. The exchange claimed that it is an industry leader in these areas. Binance further added that when it learns of bad behavior, it intervenes and takes appropriate action, including freezing funds and working with law enforcement to support investigations.
Global Efforts to Combat Terrorism Funding Through Crypto
Governments worldwide have begun working on preventing the crypto asset class from being used to fund terrorism. The United Nations highlighted this issue in October 2022, stating that crypto is increasingly being used in terror financing. Australia and India have spoken of this trend and are taking corresponding actions.
Amount Funding Illegal Activities Quadrupled to $20 Billion
According to a report by Chainalysis, the amount funding illegal activities has quadrupled over the last five years to $20 billion. Many of these funds have been transferred to groups that have been sanctioned internationally, with a large portion going to the Russian crypto exchange, Garantex.
Israel’s Crypto Regulation Efforts
Apart from working on countering the financing of terrorism, Israel is also working on crypto regulation. The country’s budget for 2023–24 includes crypto-related changes that would make it easier to report taxes.
The Israel Securities Authority is also working on new definitions for digital assets that would bring it under the government’s supervision. This would help establish investor protection, a key agenda on every government’s crypto regulation plans.
The recent seizure of Binance accounts by Israeli authorities has brought the issue of crypto being used to fund terrorist activities to the forefront. Governments worldwide are working on combating this issue, with many taking corresponding actions.
Binance has responded to the reports by stating that it takes more measures than other exchanges to keep bad actors off the platform. Israel is not only working on combating terrorism financing but is also working on crypto regulation to establish investor protection.