Bitcoin, per new research, is being utilized at an alarming rate throughout the region of Palestine. This is good in the sense that most use cases revolve around civilians utilizing cryptocurrency for ethical purposes. However, there do still appear to be traces of terrorist funding throughout the region.
Most Crypto Use in Palestine Is Law-Abiding
One of the big takeaways of the research is that Palestine boasts a heavy Hamas presence, yet such financing is down, and people are utilizing BTC mostly for cross-border fundraising. Awareness of crypto – particularly of BTC and Ethereum – has increased heavily over the last year, and they are mostly utilized to initiate payments to freelancers and persons working abroad.
Freelance web developer Ismael Al-Safadi explains:
There are some offices that now do $5 million to $6 million a month. I’ve seen an office send 100 BTC in one [transaction]… There are also a lot of small clients. They send $200 to $1,000.
Illicit transactions are still stemming from the area, though for the most part, they are small beans when compared with those that bear appropriate legitimacy. Overall, millions of dollars in crypto payments are initiated by employers each month to workers and clients, while the illicit transactions ultimately account for only “tens of thousands of dollars.”
In addition to crypto usage, education is growing like crazy and many residents are joining groups, clubs and similar organizations to learn more about crypto and work with others that share their passions and ideas. Al-Safadi, for example, takes part in many social media gatherings that seek to boost knowledge of crypto. He estimates there are approximately 10,000 bitcoin users just in Gaza alone.
In addition, an anonymous source that teaches cryptocurrency courses and arranges meetups says that one such Facebook group centered around bitcoin boasts more than 5,000 members in the area.
Another anonymous figure – a Palestinian who now calls the United Arab Emirates home – says he’s using Ethereum’s blockchain to build a charity platform. He says the first donations will be distributed to persons in both Gaza and along the West Bank, and that the charity is built to assist under-privileged children who can’t afford to attend good schools.
People there [in Palestine] are starting to learn and ask about it… Palestinians are more using bitcoin than ether… to make international transfers and to bypass Israeli control.
No Solid Ground
For the most part, however, the cryptocurrency space within the region cannot be considered legitimate enough in the sense that most crypto platforms are not connected to banks or global exchanges. Instead, most activity takes place through peer-to-peer transactions, unofficial dealers and private social media forums.
In addition, most crypto users don’t keep their coins but instead choose to cash out for fiat. Thus, Palestine isn’t home to many hodlers.