Category Archives: Bitcoin Donations

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Hamas Bid for Bitcoin Donations Struggles to Get Off Ground

Hamas Bid for Bitcoin Donations Struggles to Get Off Ground

The fundamentalist Palestinian organization Hamas is to continue its call for cryptocurrency donations which has only resulted in a meager few thousand dollars since its call for funding two months ago.

Hamas, the de-facto ruling authority of the Gaza Strip in Palestine, is regarded by several countries, including the US and the EU, as a terrorist organization. Russia, Turkey, and China are among those major world powers who do not subscribe to the definition.

The original Hamas request for Bitcoin funds in February was made as a result of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to freeze millions of dollars in Qatari aid – including USD 15 million a month to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants. Gazan journalist and lecturer Hussam Al-Dajany has reiterated the need for support in another call for funding this week but this time claiming this “just Palestinian cause… can indirectly participate in the liberation of the Al Aqsa Mosque”.

Former CIA analyst Yaya Fanusie has suggested that Hamas has made some progress in setting up its donations project despite having struggled to raise the funds it needs and says that the Hamas website is currently “generating unique (bitcoin) addresses for each site visitor”. He adds:

“This method will make it harder for authorities to identify and track donations, and shows that Hamas is more careful about cryptocurrency operational security.”

Despite these moves, Hamas has numerous hurdles to overcome in raising cryptocurrency funding. Coinbase and other major exchanges have been put on alert to ensure that known Hamas addresses are not used for transactions, although this in itself won’t be simple as fresh addresses are likely to be created by Hamas to confuse the exchanges.

Bitcoin does have traceability issues though, which is certain to make the Hamas call for funds challenging. The creation of a unique address on the Hamas website will shield the recipient, but won’t anonymize the sender. This is sure to make potential donors wary, as it appears to have done so far.

 

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Crypto Donation Proposal for Election Campaigns Declined in North Carolina

The North Carolina electoral campaign finance board has denied a proposal made in April 2018 for cryptocurrencies to be allowed as campaign donation funds.

No crypto

Republican candidate Emmanuel Wilder asked the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide guidance on whether or not he could accept donations in cryptocurrency for his campaign.

In an email to the board, he wrote, “I know that this is new, but there is a great opportunity to show that North Carolina is truly open to new emerging markets.”

Unsurprisingly, Kim Westbrook Strach, the state elections executive director, responded in July, writing, “We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”

The board officially ruled that only US dollars can be used as campaign financing due to monetary limits detailed in state campaign finance regulations.

Wilder replied with some optimism despite his disappointment, writing in a statement, “Blockchain and other technologies hold the ability to improve how business and public institutions operate day to day… Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”

Bitcoin in campaign funds

In 2017, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission declined to allow Bitcoin campaign contributions; at this point in time, perceptions of the soaring coin were skeptical at best. The response came after a candidate had queried the board on the legality of the accepting the digital currency as campaign contributions.

Executive director of the commission, Mark Skoglund said, “There is no physical manifestation of this currency in any way. It’s just alphanumeric characters that exist only online. It is not backed by any government. The value is subjective and highly volatile.”

In July 2018, candidate for state Governor and Chairman of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party Phil Anderson announced that he would be accepting Bitcoin campaign donations. However, his request for “formal guidance” from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (WEC) was met with similar skepticism but not an outright ban.

The WEC responded after consulting the Senate and Assembly election committees, describing crypto donations as a “serious challenge” to the state’s law. However, the WEC has made no official challenges or complaint as of yet.

Anderson is undeterred by the cynicism and remains adamant that he and the Libertarian Party will “push all the way back” if the WEC does file a complaint.

Talk of cryptocurrency donations on the campaign trail comes at a very interesting time. A Democratic candidate for the 2020 US Presidential Elections has announced that he will be accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and other ERC20 cryptocurrencies for his campaign.

There is yet to be any particular backlash at a federal level, which is a surprise considering that Bitcoin was utilized to tamper with the 2016 presidential election.

 

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