Crypto is Not a Major Terror Concern Right Now: US Treasury Official
- Wally Adeyemo, US Deputy Treasury Secretary, said that crypto is not a major source of terrorism financing.
- He said that the Treasury is working to prevent digital assets from becoming a source.
- Adeyemo claimed that terrorist groups are “going to use any new technology” to fund their actions.
- The WSJ corrected their article, misciting the money raised by Hamas via blockchain-based rails.
Wally Adeyemo, the United States Deputy Treasury Secretary, has stated that the use of crypto in financing terrorism is not a major issue right now. He added that the digital asset sector plays a prominent but relatively minute role in global terrorist financing operations during a speech on Friday.
Interestingly, Adeyemo’s statement comes in stark contrast to claims from a massive lineup of US lawmakers earlier this month stating that the Hamas terrorist group raised $130 million from their supporters via digital assets. While talking about terrorist groups, sanctions, and illicit finance, Adeyemo stated that crypto is “not the vast majority of the ways that these groups are funded,” while adding:
“The thing that we know about terrorist groups and those who look to move money illicitly is that they’re going to use any new technology to try to do that,” he said.
The US Treasury official noted that while digital assets are not a concern for now, “the thing that we’re going to do, though, is prevent it from becoming the way that they [terrorist groups] are funded in the future.”
This statement from Adeyemo resonated with the report released by the Treasury Department last year stating that crypto’s use for money laundering “remains far below that of fiat currency and more traditional methods.”
Adeyemo noted that crypto can cause an “evolution” in terrorist money laundering efforts. He said that the majority of firms try to operate within the confines of the law, but some “wish to innovate without regard to consequences,” while continuing:
“We will use every tool available to go after any person or platform that is facilitating the movement of resources for terrorists.”
Interestingly, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article claiming that Hamas raised $130 million via crypto rails was proved false by blockchain analysis provider Elliptic, which stated that the WSJ and US lawmakers were manipulating factors to make digital assets look bad.
Following Elliptic’s report, the WSJ corrected its article, stating that PIJ and Lebanese political party Hezbollah “may have exchanged” up to $12 million in cryptocurrency. This was way lesser than the initial claims of $98 million.