Hamas Calls on Supporters to Donate to Group in Bitcoin

(Bloomberg) -- What’s an organization designated as a terrorist group in the U.S. and Europe supposed to do when it comes to raising funds? Think cryptocurrency.

A spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, the cash-strapped militant Palestinian group that rules the Gaza Strip, urged supporters to donate in Bitcoin to get around international restrictions on funding the organization.

“The Zionist enemy fights the Palestinian resistance by trying to cut aid to the resistance by all means, but lovers of resistance around the world fight these Zionist attempts and seek all possible means to aid the resistance,” Abu Obeida wrote Tuesday on his Instagram account. He promised to supply more details later of how supporters could contribute by Bitcoin.

The cryptocurrency, which operates via blockchain technology that maintains users’ anonymity, has been used by players on the “dark web” to fund activities from drug trafficking to terrorism -- in addition to perfectly legitimate transactions.

One thing Abu Obeida might want to consider is that a Bitcoin donation may not hold its value: From a high of almost $19,000 in December 2017, one Bitcoin is now worth just $3,425.72, a drop of 82 percent in little more than a year.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.