Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges around, has recently been threatened by a lawsuit from the Israeli civil rights NGO Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) if they don’t put a stop to the Hamas fundraising occurring in its platform.
Shurat HaDin is demanding Coinbase to close its offering service to the Palestinian fundamentalist organization Hamas. The US itself also view Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization, which should be reason enough for Coinbase to shut it down since they are based in the US. The warning was sent to Coinbase through a letter by the NGO stating:
It has recently come to our attention that the notorious Palestinian terrorist group Hamas currently maintains an account with Coinbase, Inc. (“Coinbase”), through which it is accepting donations. Therefore, I am writing to notify Coinbase that knowingly providing material support or resources to Hamas is a violation of U.S. federal criminal law, and to demand that Coinbase immediately terminate any and all accounts and services provided to Hamas.
According to information provided by Coinbase’s terms of services (ToS), Hamas may have possibly breached the user agreement. As the organization is conducting acts of terrorism, this is a strict violation of Coinbase’s ToS. The ToS further warns its users against using the services for a promotion that involve violent crimes.
Although, while a terrorist threat shouldn’t be ignored, this may be a bit of an overreaction from Israel Law Center’s part. While Hamas may have raised a sizable amount of bitcoins, the figure is quite small compared to the amount of cash it manages to raised through it more traditional means.
Currently, it’s quite unsure whether Coinbase will cave into the demands of Israeli court and shut down the Hamas crypto account in due to this potential lawsuit they can be hit with. Even if they decided to fight these claims, it may hurt their brand image due to them aiding and abiding terrorist actions. And with the company being based in the US, it could bring attention to them in ways they rather not attract from the US government.