How Many AK47s Did Hamas Buy With Crypto?

Binance has settled with the US Justice Department for more than $4 billion. They have also agreed to strict monitoring and to abide by money laundering rules. Their boss is paying a $50 million fine and stepping down in return for not having to go to prison or hide out forever in countries that do not extradite to the USA. The problem that led to all this was that Binance, and other crypto exchanges, turned a blind eye to terrorist organizations like Hamas using their services. A comment by a Binance employee was that one could barely buy an AK47 with what they sent. So, how many AK47s did Hamas buy with crypto and were they used in the attack on Israel that killed over a thousand people and caused Israel’s retaliatory invasion with thousands of deaths?

When and Where Crypto Regulation Is Necessary

There is a tendency for folks working in financial arenas to focus on profits to the exclusion of everything else. When their efforts lead to problems in the larger world they get sued or government regulators show up and make their lives difficult. The ones with money, a good publicist, and no conscience downplay the damage to the broader world. Or, as with Binance, say repeatedly that they have been doing everything humanly possible to comply and that the government either does not get it or is being malicious.

Regulation was necessary after banks foisted subprime mortgages on millions of folks and caused the Financial Crisis. Regulation was seen to be necessary when the folks at FTX defrauded customers and investors out of billions of dollars. Now, the law and regulatory force of the US government has come down upon Binance and its founder.

It would be wonderful if one could see the future and apply regulations that are just enough to get the job done. It would be nice to do this before problems occur. There are two problems in this regard. Nobody sees the future and anticipates potential problems. Or the folks who are causing all of the problems are calling the shots through their well-paid Washington lobbyists, talking heads on business shows, and op eds in influential business publications.

Binance Enabled Illicit Actors

When announcing the deal that resulted in a $4.5 billion fine for Binance, Attorney General Merrit Garland noted that Binance chose to funnel money to Hamas because it was profitable. This was not about the laudable goals at the beginning of crypto. It was not about honest people wanting to avoid middlemen siphoning off profits. It was not about decentralization and a reasonable amount of privacy in one’s financial dealings. It was about greed, pure and simple. It was about turning the fact that Binance knew who they were dealing with into an inside joke. If one needs to know why cutting off funding to terrorists is important they only need to visit the World Trade Center memorial in New York or watch today’s news about a three-year-old hostage hopefully being freed by Hamas when the rest of her family was killed by them.

The list of bad actors who moved funds via Binance did not stop with Hamas but also included Islamic Jihad, ISIS, and Al Qaeda. The list of crypto exchanges that aided and abetted terrorists does not stop with Binance either. That is why regulation in this area is necessary and not a laughing matter.

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