A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration/File)
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The armed wing of Hamas is using increasingly complex methods of raising funds via bitcoin, researchers say, highlighting the difficulties regulators face in tracking cryptocurrency financing of outfits designated by some as terrorist groups.Originally, it asked donors to send bitcoin to a single digital address, or wallet.However, according to research shared with Reuters by leading blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, in recent weeks it has changed the mechanism, with its website generating a new digital wallet with every transaction.Between March 26 and April 16, 0.6 bitcoin – worth around $3,300 – was sent to the website-created wallets, Elliptic's research found. All told, the four-month fundraising campaign has raised around $7,400, the firm said.Such funds are a fraction of the tens of millions of dollars in annual funding that Israel and the United States says Hamas receives from Iran.Iran has not publicly detailed its funding of Hamas, though it has not denied its support for the group.Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.The firm monitored these addresses, later identifying multiple transactions that sent funds from the addresses to a major Asia-based cryptocurrency exchange.It was not clear whether the bitcoin had since been converted to traditional currencies, the firm said.
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