The recent Wall Street Journal article that claimed Hamas raised $130 million via cryptocurrency has sparked considerable debate, especially after Sen. Elizabeth Warren used it as her sole source to ask for tighter regulations around crypto. However, the veracity of this claim has come under scrutiny.

Yaya Fanusie, Jessi Brooks, and Andrew Fierman delve into the veracity of reported figures, the methodology behind them, and the subsequent industry responses that sought to correct the public record. They examine the political implications of cryptocurrency, its use in funding organizations, and the nuanced role of stablecoins in this digital economy. Additionally, they address the broader challenges in regulating crypto to prevent illicit funding, emphasizing the need for factual accuracy and a comprehensive approach to understanding and tackling such complex issues.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Show highlights |

  • How the Wall Street Journal article claimed that Hamas and other militant groups in Palestine raised $130 million via crypto
  • Why Yaya, who spent some time in his career doing research on terrorist financing, found those numbers odd
  • Why Jessi believes that there's been a loss of focus on facts and accuracy
  • Andrew's explanation of the post by Chainlaysis that corrected the record
  • Why it's so difficult to make a confident assessment of how much money is being funneled to terrorist groups
  • Whether crypto has become politicized
  • Why is it so important to focus not only on the crypto fundraising but also the other avenues, according to Jessi
  • The role of USDT and other stablecoins in fundraising terrorist organizations
  • Tow North Korea is a much more sophisticated actor than Hamas in its know-how about crypto
  • How the government has tried to respond to the illicit usage of crypto, such as the OFAC sanctions on Tornado cash
  • The challenges to creating regulations to prevent the use of illicit activity in crypto

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Guests |

Yaya Fanusie, Director of anti-money laundering and cyber risk at the Crypto Council for Innovation.

Previous appearance on Unchained:

Jessi Brooks, CCO and Legal Officer at Ribbit Capital.

Andrew Fierman, Head of Sanctions Strategy at Chainalysis

Links |

Fundraising report and corrections


Washington Post:



Nic Carter Tweet: Liz Warren wyd?

Tornado Cash sanctions:

Previous coverage of Unchained on Tornado Cash:

Crypto anti-money laundering bill:

Unchained Podcast is Produced by Laura Shin Media, LLC. Distributed by CoinDesk. Senior Producer is Michele Musso and Executive Producer is Jared Schwartz.