U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., said he plans to introduce a bill to strengthen bank secrecy act requirements for cryptocurrency following reports that Hamas raised millions of dollars through crypto ahead of attacks in Israel earlier this month.
That legislation will be similar to a bill Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced, Casten told the House Financial Services Committee's panel on illicit finance and national security on Wednesday during a hearing.
"We will be introducing a bill that Senator Warren has already introduced on the Senate side to do that over here," Casten said. Casten did not specify which bill, but Sen. Warren reintroduced a bill in July that would crack down on the use of crypto for money laundering and sanctions evasion as well as extend Bank Secrecy Act requirements to digital asset wallet providers, miners, among other participants.
The use of crypto by terrorist organizations has been spotlighted after a Wall Street Journal report found that Hamas, along with other militant groups, raised millions worth of crypto ahead of attacks in Israel. WSJ cited crypto researcher Elliptic, which on Wednesday said that figures recently used to portray the scale of crypto fundraising by Hamas were being misrepresented.
"We have spoken to representatives of the lead signatory, Senator Warren, as well as the authors of the Wall Street Journal article, to clarify this," Elliptic said.
Since the recent attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, the firm said only $21,000 in fresh crypto donations have arrived, with much of it already frozen.
"The unique traceability of these assets have meant that the amounts raised remain tiny compared to other funding sources," Elliptic said. "No public crypto fundraising campaign by a terrorist group has received significant levels of donations, relative to other funding sources."
Other lawmakers raise crypto concerns
Former House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also asked witnesses on Wednesday about cryptocurrency's connection to Iran and Hamas.
"What we see is Hamas utilizing cryptocurrency to fundraise. That does happen," said Adam Zarazinski, CEO of Inca Digital, a data analytics intelligence firm focused on crypto.
"While cryptocurrency can be employed in activities that challenge our security and values, it also holds the potential to democratize finance, spur economic growth, and foster financial inclusion globally," he added.
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