In an age of fast-paced information dissemination, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of news is paramount. Today, we find ourselves compelled to address a critical matter of misinformation that has recently come to light. The Chamber of Digital Commerce has taken a significant step by submitting a correction request to The Wall Street Journal concerning their most recent article regarding Hamas’ alleged use of cryptocurrency.
The article in question appears to suggest that this notorious terrorist organization is exclusively funded by cryptocurrency—a claim that, upon closer examination, proves to be both misleading and far from the truth. The reality is that cryptocurrency, far from being the preferred currency for criminals, serves as a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies seeking to track and monitor illicit activities.
However, this incident is not isolated, for the cryptocurrency realm has long been the unfortunate victim of inaccurate media portrayals that construct a narrative starkly distant from reality. It is imperative for the media to uphold the principles of journalistic integrity by providing a fair, balanced, and comprehensive account of this crucial issue.
In our ongoing commitment to transparency and accuracy, we invite you to peruse our submitted correction for the record below.
I am writing to address The Chamber of Digital Commerce’s concerns regarding the recent article titled, “Hamas Militants Behind Israel Attack Raised Millions in Crypto.” We believe that certain aspects of the article require clarification and correction to provide a more accurate portrayal of the role of cryptocurrency in the Israeli conflict.
First and foremost, we believe that the article’s implication that groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Hezbollah are primarily and effectively funded through cryptocurrency sources is not supported by the available evidence. We respectfully request that The Wall Street Journal publish a correction to offer critical context for the benefit of the public, honest industry participants, and national security.
The article begins by saying “Hamas’s lighting strike…raised the question how the group financed the surprise operation. One answer: cryptocurrency,” and suggests that over the last year, these three terror groups “received large amounts of funds through crypto.” This framing is, at best, imprecise and, at worst, misleading. These groups finance their operations through various means, including illicit finance via traditional banking systems, hawala networks, and state sponsorship. For instance, Hezbollah receives substantial funding from Iran, far surpassing the amounts received through cryptocurrency.
Furthermore, while the article includes a graph of “crypto funds received by Palestinian Islamic Jihad”, it fails to point out that in April 2024, Hamas announced it was ceasing to accept funds in cryptocurrency to protect its donors. Shortly after this announcement, funding to Hamas in crypto decreased dramatically. The article should include the critical point that Hamas suspended crypto funding earlier this year.
It is also worth noting that attempts from other organizations that are seeking to raise funds to support Hamas through cryptocurrency have failed to raise any material amount of funds.
The article does not adequately highlight how blockchain technology, as an open and transparent ledger of transactions, facilitates the tracking, tracing, and dismantling of cryptocurrency-based terrorist funding avenues. Providing this context is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of blockchain for law enforcement.
Finally, the authors should provide the full scope of the issue. It is estimated that only .24% of crypto activity in 2022 was illicit. Compare that to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 2-5% of global GDP is used on money laundering alone—that is $800B versus $2T. Regardless of the arguable precision of either of these figures, cryptocurrency is not the currency of choice for illicit activity, like the article suggests.
In conclusion, while we acknowledge that new technologies can be exploited by bad actors, it is essential to recognize that, in the case of cryptocurrencies, these attempts often serve as more valuable tools for law enforcement than for criminals. Public and transparent ledgers make concealing illicit funds through cryptocurrencies inefficient and risky.
We believe that a balanced and comprehensive argument is crucial, as it not only upholds journalistic integrity but also serves the best interests of your readers and the dedicated businesses striving to enhance economic conditions and protect national security.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your response and hope to see these corrections made in the near future.
Founder and CEO
The Chamber of Digital Commerce