TL;DR: Controversial Palestinian organization, Hamas حماس, took to social media recently and appealed for bitcoin donations. It’s yet another indication of cryptocurrency making its way beyond traditional financial arrangements, and not everyone is thrilled by the phenomenon.
Hamas Appeals to Supporters for Bitcoin Donations
“#Hamas invites the ppl around the world to support #Gaza by sending BitCoin in order to break the israeli siege since 13 yrs,” came the request from Ahmad Matar. Hamas, a Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist resistance movement, is a Palestinian organization. For more than a decade, it has acted as the defacto government of the Gaza Strip, even doling out social services.
The European Union, Israel, and the United States regard it as a terrorist organization. Turkey, Russia, and China are among the larger countries who have been somewhat supportive of Hamas. It’s considered an intellectual cousin of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been at essentially war with Israel since the group’s founding in the late 1980s.
As such, sanctions have been placed against those who would finance its operations, and the latest attempt at an appeal seems to imply such embargoes are taking a toll. Response to the request was immediate. One commenter declared, “Hamas is a terror organization Free Gaza from terror,” while another shouted, “Supporting Hamas is supporting Islamic terror!!!”
For crypto enthusiasts, it’s another use case, though admittedly few are comfortable wading into the rabbit hole that is Middle East politics. It does, however, show that groups marginalized and cast aside by the formal, above ground world might be able to be subverted. Economic sanctions are considered by governments among the most precise and technical ways to thwart a foe. That they might be rendered impotent by the likes of bitcoin is both exiting and terrifying. The Times of Israel reprinted an AFP wire, adding, “There was no immediate reply from Bitcoin.”
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