The proBitcoin crusader Senator Cynthia Lummis jointly penned a letter with Representative French Hill on Thursday, October 26, directing the Department of Justice to conclude investigations of alleged Binance and Tether links to terrorist activities.
Bipartisan Letter Condemns Facilitative Role of Crypto in Funding Terrorism
The Bipartisan letter coincides with the US lawmakers condemning the facilitative role played by the crypto industry to fund terrorism. The lawmakers informed the Biden Administration on the emergent funding of illicit activities via crypto-based transactions.
The Thursday letter by the Bitcoin Senator petitioned the Department of Justice (DoJ) to expedite the investigation into crypto exchange Binance and USDT stablecoin issuer Tether’s involvement in easing funding to Hamas.
The letter features the input of Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis and Arizona French Hill, indicating that the DOJ should decide on Binance’s culpability. Also, the letter asks the DOJ investigators to expedite their conclusion on the culpability of Tether’s involvement in the illicit activities.
The letter comes days after a publication by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) indicated that Hamas utilized Binance accounts and Tether’s stablecoin USDT to fund their October 7 attack on Israel. Blockchain analytic firm Elliptic dismissed the content of the WSJ article as inaccurate.
Nonetheless, Senator Lummis and Representative Hill indicated in the letter that though the funding captured in the WSJ is inaccurate, the DOJ should hold the bad crypto actors accountable. Consequently, the letter by the two legislators presses the DOJ to expedite the conclusion to hold crypto firms found to facilitate illicit activities accountable.
The Thursday letter asked the DOJ to evaluate the extent to which Tether and Binance offered material support and facilitated resources that eased the terrorism attack. The duo asks the Justice Department to determine if the two firms violated the Bank Secrecy Act alongside other sanctions laws.
Senator Lummis and fellow legislator restated their strong support for the DoJ to undertake swift action against the ChangPeng Zhao-led Binance. They advised on the need to choke off resources that Tether funded the terrorists embroiled in armed conflict with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The letter to the DOJ comes after Bloomberg and WSJ publications indicated that the regulator opened investigations in Tether and Binance though referenced unnamed sources.
Global Unit to Halt Terrorist Group Funding via Crypto
The letter co-authored by Senator Lummis is unsurprising given her outspoken nature regarding the digital asset industry. Nonetheless, she does not portray the anti-crypto stance illustrated by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Lummis has in the past cast a cryptocurrency advocate on Capitol Hill while pushing for the crypto regulation.
Wyoming Senator Lummis restated the need for a clearer policy on digital assets. Doing so would convert the crypto skeptics into adopting the cryptocurrencies.
The letter by Senator Lummis indicates that Hamas has reaped crypto-related donations, including Dogecoin, USDT, and Bitcoin. Elliptic observed that Gaza Now runs the fundraising that started after the Saturday, October 7 attack on Israel. Nevertheless, Elliptic indicates that only a $21000 crypto donation reached the Gaza Now addresses.
The blockchain data firm attributes the restricted crypto donations to digital assets businesses and researchers to freeze associated addresses. By doing so, Elliptic attributes the coordinated input to preventing Gaza Now from utilizing the funds.
Tether’s Stablecoin USDT Features in Crypto Donations to Hamas
The firm notes that Gaza had on October 9 sent $2,000 of the donation to an exchange presumably to cash out. Tether would later freeze $9000 in USDT stablecoin donations.
The letter from the bipartisan lawmakers demanded answers from the Biden administration on the role financing terrorism plays. The market analysts illustrated that the assertions of crypto facilitating a significant role in the ongoing Israel-Hamas crisis are inaccurate.
Crypto facilitates illicit activities featured in the US Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s address at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He indicated that though crypto is not a significant funding source for terrorist groups like Hamas, they would soon embrace the technology.
Adeyemo utilized the Friday October 27 address to urge a collective input from the industry to prevent cryptocurrency abuse and use by terrorist groups in the future.
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