A bipartisan group of over 100 lawmakers is pressuring the Biden administration to address the growing use of cryptocurrencies to finance terrorist activity. This comes after recent reports found the Palestinian militant group Hamas received tens of millions in crypto donations in recent years.
The legislators, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS), sent a letter to top administration officials expressing alarm over cryptocurrency’s enabling of terrorism financing. They cited a Wall Street Journal report that Hamas garnered approximately $41 million in crypto funds over the past two years, while another group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, amassed up to $93 million.
- A bipartisan group of over 100 lawmakers, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Roger Marshall, are demanding answers from the Biden administration about cryptocurrency’s role in financing recent Hamas attacks on Israel.
- A recent report found Hamas received around $41 million in crypto donations over the past two years. Another group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, received up to $93 million.
- The lawmakers want information from the Treasury Department and White House on how they plan to address the issue of crypto financing for terrorist organizations.
The lawmakers called upon the Treasury Department and White House to detail plans for curtailing the use of cryptocurrencies by foreign terrorist organizations. Many militant groups now actively solicit crypto donations to bypass sanctions and traditional finance channels.
Senators Warren and Marshall have advocated legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies and crack down on illicit usages. However, the bill has stalled due to objections that existing laws already cover terrorist financing. The administration instead announced new sanctions Wednesday directly targeting crypto exchange services assisting Hamas.
In the letter, the bipartisan group urged forceful action to prohibit cryptocurrencies from abetting terrorism. They stated that Congress and the administration must address crypto risks before they facilitate additional tragedy. The lawmakers also requested information on proposals for mitigating money laundering and terrorism financing as Congress weighs legislative options.
Cryptocurrency professionals have warned that overly broad regulations could severely impact the young digital asset industry. But the growing account of crypto donations benefiting Middle Eastern militant groups has lawmakers prioritizing national security threats.
The demands for accountability highlight deep concerns in Washington regarding cryptocurrencies and their potential for harm. Lawmakers across the political spectrum appear united in pressing the Biden administration to take definitive steps restricting the flow of crypto funds to dangerous organizations.
How the administration responds could determine the regulatory climate around cryptocurrency in the months ahead.