TRON Appears at Center of Militant Financing in Israel-Hamas War

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
TRON Appears at Center of Militant Financing in Israel-Hamas War
Photo: Unsplash

Israeli security agencies note that the Tron network has become the preferred platform for crypto transfers by militant groups linked to Palestine, Hamas, etc.

In Israel’s ongoing battle against the financing of Iran-backed militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, a previously less scrutinized crypto network Tron has emerged as a significant player.

Surpassing Bitcoin in terms of transaction speed and cost-effectiveness, the Tron network has become the preferred platform for crypto transfers associated with organizations designated as terror groups by Israel, the United States, and other nations.

Interviews with financial crime experts and blockchain investigations specialists, coupled with an analysis of Israeli security services’ crypto seizures since 2021, highlight a noticeable shift toward targeting Tron wallets. On the other hand, Bitcoin wallet seizures have declined.

Mriganka Pattnaik, CEO of the New York-based blockchain analysis firm Merkle Science, notes that this trend is influenced by Tron’s faster transaction times, lower fees, and overall stability.

Merkle Science reports that it serves as a provider for law enforcement agencies in the United States, Britain, and Singapore. During the period from July 2021 to October 2023, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing (NBCTF), the entity responsible for asset seizures, identified and froze 143 Tron wallets. These wallets were most likely associated with a “designated terrorist organization” or utilized in connection with a “severe terror crime”, according to the analysis conducted by Reuters.

Tron Wallets Linked to Hamas

The attacks on October 7 by Hamas resulted in the death of approximately 1,200 people in Israel. Subsequently, Israel’s bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza led to the death of around 14,000 people. In response, Israel has intensified its scrutiny of Hamas’ financing.

Hayward Wong, a spokesperson for Tron, a British Virgin Islands-registered entity, emphasized these of all technologies, including Tron, for questionable activities, drawing a parallel with the use of US dollars for money laundering. Wong asserted that Tron does not control the actions of those using its technology. Besides, he also distanced any kind of association with the groups identified by Israel.

Of Israel’s Tron seizures, 87 occurred this year, including 39 wallets linked to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and 26 wallets associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The seizures also encompassed 56 Tron wallets connected to Hamas, with 46 linked to a Gaza-based money exchange company named Dubai Co. For Exchange in March last year.

Following the Hamas assault, Israel made its most significant known seizure of crypto accounts. They froze approximately 600 accounts associated with Dubai Co., without specifying the crypto networks or coins used.

Individuals affected by the seizure, using Tron, denied any ties to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, stating that they engaged in crypto trading for business or personal finances. One individual mentioned the possibility of a one-time money transfer to someone associated with Hamas.

The armed wing of Hamas, which had previously raised crypto funds, announced in April that it would cease Bitcoin fundraising, without mentioning Tron in the statement.

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