US Congressman Demands Investigation Into Crypto’s Alleged Use In Terrorism Financing

Tom Emmer, a United States Congressman, sought specific explanations on claims regarding the alleged use of crypto to finance terrorism reports during a House Financial Services Committee hearing held on Wednesday.

Cryptocurrencies Are Not A Tool For Terrorists

In the court hearing, the Congressman asked the US Department of Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) Brian Nelson to confirm the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Hamas’s effort to raise money through digital assets.

Emmer highlighted that the journal revealed in October last year that between August 2021 and June 2023, digital assets valued at $41 million went to Hamas. Additionally, approximately $93 million allegedly went to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Various leading blockchain analytics firms worldwide have rejected WSJ’s claim, stating that the amount of money that goes into these organizations is insignificant. Specifically, the congressman curiously asked Brain Nelson to confirm if this purported coverage aligns with that of the US Treasury Department’s assessment. 

Responding to the question, Nelson asserted that the US Treasury’s data is akin to that of the analytic firms. “The data published in the Wall Street Journal piece emphasize wallets, although not necessarily the aggregated numbers among wallet users,” Nelson stated.

Furthermore, the Undersecretary noted that cryptocurrency assets are not the primary means of financing terrorism worldwide. According to Nelson, the US Treasury’s assessment shows that terrorists majorly utilize traditional methods and services, not crypto, to finance their activities.

Nelson further backed up his claims by highlighting that the department has closely monitored this act to demonstrate the accuracy of the data. Due to this, Emmer then questioned if crypto assets were a common means of finance for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Need For Accurate Data On The Development

After that, Emmer asked Nelson if Hamas crypto usage was smaller than WSJ and the media reports. The undersecretary confirmed this is correct, which is what the department’s assessment says.

He added, “I believe we have done a good job identifying the virtual asset providers and financial facilitators that both Hamas and Jihad have historically relied on. ”

So far, Tom Emmer has urged the US Treasury Department to publish their records to address the false information in the sector. Emmer mentioned that several US Senators and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are already taking advantage of the information, threatening innovation in the United States.

In December, US Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her stance on cryptocurrency, saying its primary use cases are for criminal activities.  These include money laundering, terrorist financing, and drug trafficking, among others

Warren has branded digital assets the “new threat” to the world due to the risk they pose to the economy. However, Emmer, other US representatives, independent firms, and even the Department of Treasury disagreed. 

Crypto
Overall crypto market cap at $1.9 trillion | Source: TOTAL on Tradingview.com

Featured image from iStock, chart from Tradingview.com

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