Palestinian militant group Hamas has seen a spike in crypto donations to fund its operations since its renewed armed conflict with Israel, report says

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Hamas staged an anti-Israel rally in the northern Gaza Strip, a parade with weapons in the streets of Gaza city more than a week after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Hamas said it has seen a rise in cryptocurrency donations since violent clashes with Israel broke out in May, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing a senior official of the militant group.

The escalation in armed conflict began on May 7, when Israeli police stormed the Islamic holy site al-Aqsa Mosque during the period of Ramadan and injured over 200 people. Palestine’s Islamist group retaliated by firing rockets into Israel from Gaza, after which Israel struck back with its own airstrikes at Gaza.

Both sides eventually agreed to a ceasefire on May 20, after 11 days of the bloodiest fighting seen in the region in seven years.

The conflict drew widespread international attention, not just to the chaos of the situation, but also to websites run by the group’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, WSJ said. Heightened interest led to increased donations that are facilitating its operations.

“There was definitely a spike” in bitcoin donations, the Hamas official told the Journal. “Some of the money gets used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.”

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Palestinians dance as they wave green Hamas and their national flags while celebrating the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza City.

It isn’t clear when Hamas began receiving crypto donations. But its designation as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, the European Union and Britain means that it had to turn away from the global financial system to rely on other complex networks for funding.

The group has especially benefited from the anonymity of crypto transactions, WSJ said. Last year, US federal authorities seized $1 million in cryptocurrencies tied to the group’s armed wing. A previous investigation by the Journal found al-Qassam converted most of its bitcoin into cash, or gift cards, aided by two Turkish intermediaries.

The Hamas official didn’t mention the amount of cryptocurrency it had received, but said overall revenue has been rising. It has also been collecting other forms of donations from supporters.

In one instance, a branch of the Iranian armed forces sent more than $200 million to the group between 2015 and 2019, the WSJ said, citing data from the US Treasury. Iran does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a state. Its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, called the predominantly-Jewish state “not a country, but a terrorist base” last month.

For the Palestinian organization, cryptocurrencies offer an easier method of making sure transactions go undetected as they are untraceable.

“Our fundraising strategies keep on evolving as more restrictions are being placed on us,” the Hamas representative said.

Read More: Financial researcher Nik Bhatia explains why asset managers with a growth focus could be violating their fiduciary duty if they don’t consider bitcoin – and compares the crypto to Amazon’s stock 20 years ago

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Archegos chief Bill Hwang donated huge amounts of Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook stock to his private foundation. Those gifts would be worth $950 million today

Bill Hwang
Bill Hwang of Archegos Capital Management.

  • Bill Hwang donated Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook shares to his private foundation.
  • The Archegos chief’s Grace and Mercy Foundation cashed them in for $325 million.
  • Grace and Mercy could have sold the shares for nearly $950 million today.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bill Hwang, the investor who lost $20 billion in two days when his family office imploded in March, donated technology stocks to his private foundation that would be worth almost $950 million today.

The Archegos Capital Management boss – whose portfolio was swiftly dismantled when his leveraged stock bets soured and he defaulted on his lenders’ margin calls – is the cofounder of the Grace and Mercy Foundation, a Christian charity that helps the poor and oppressed.

Grace and Mercy’s tax filings, reviewed by Insider on ProPublica, show Hwang donated around 121,000 Amazon shares, 945,000 Netflix shares, and 51,000 Facebook shares to the foundation over the past decade. Grace and Mercy sold those shares for about $325 million in total between 2017 and 2018, scoring a handsome $186 million gain.

However, if the foundation had kept the gifts instead of selling them, they would fetch around $946 million today, reflecting the three stocks’ price gains in recent years.

Grace and Mercy also bought shares in Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Expedia, and other companies, its tax filings show. It cashed them in for a total of $200 million between 2014 and 2016, notching a $103 million gain.

Those shares would be worth $722 million today, including Amazon stock worth $449 million and Netflix shares worth $219 million.

Grace and Mercy, which boasted nearly $500 million in assets at the end of 2018, may have cashed in Hwang’s stock gifts because it needed to finance grants to charities and fund its operations. But it undoubtedly left money on the table by selling them.

Hwang is one of several “tiger cubs” who left billionaire investor Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management to start their own funds. He shut down Tiger Asia Management in 2012 after pleading guilty to insider trading in federal court, and launched Archegos in 2013.

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