Press Releases

Hill Delivers Remarks at Hearing on Breaking Down the Illicit Activity in Digital Assets

Washington, November 15, 2023 -

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion, led by Chairman French Hill (AR-02), is holding a hearing entitled “Crypto Crime in Context: Breaking Down the Illicit Activity in Digital Assets.”
Watch Chairman Hill’s opening remarks here.
Read Chairman Hill’s opening remarks as delivered:

“Today, we’re building on our previous hearings and our classified briefings to better understand the full picture on the illicit use of digital assets.

“The goal is to dive deeper, debunk some of the myths, and ensure that we as policymakers have all the facts. 

“I would be remiss if we began this hearing without acknowledging the reports that digital assets have been used to help Hamas fundraise for the attacks carried out against Israel. 

“In the aftermath of these attacks, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that reported that Hamas received a significant portion of its funding from digital assets.

“A subsequent letter sent by Members of Congress stated that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad raised over $130 million in crypto, to which the blockchain analytics firm cited by the Wall Street Journal issued a correction, and I quote: ‘… there is no evidence to suggest that crypto fundraising has raised anything close to this amount, and the data provided by Elliptic and others has been misinterpreted.’

“So, despite the reports of the relatively small role that digital assets are reported to have played in Hamas’ fundraising efforts, I want to be unequivocally clear.

“This committee is for all means available to shut down illegal, illicit terror finance, period, full stop. Whether it takes place through crypto, cash, or through hawala. 

“That’s why Senator Lummis and I sent a letter to the DOJ about the need to go after specific bad actors within the crypto industry.

“More than 50 Members also joined an effort led by Whip Tom Emmer, Chair Patrick McHenry, Congressman Torres, and me to better understand the size, scope, and duration of Hamas’s fundraising through digital assets. 

“At the end of the day, bad actors will continue to use any means possible to conduct their illicit activity. But phones and the internet aren’t to be blamed for terrorist financing and crypto shouldn’t either.

“We must examine these issues head-on and separate fact from fiction. That’s why we’re here today. 

“Based on the member engagement on this issue from both sides of the aisle, our fact-finding mission is not partisan in any way.

“Members in this room must: better understand the degree of illicit activity; understand how we can use blockchain technology to combat illicit activity; examine the analytical tools are currently available to combat this activity; and explore gaps that may prevent and detect illicit activity. 

“As the Department of Treasury itself has acknowledged, ‘most virtual currency activity is licit, not illicit.’ Why is this the case?

“Blockchains provide law enforcement with unique and novel insight into criminal organizations and their funding networks. 

“Law enforcement has been very adept at leveraging this information to clamp down on criminals, in part, by choking off their access to the on-and off-ramps.

“The witnesses today are best suited to ensure that we leave no stone unturned and fully discuss the issues at hand. 

“I thank the witnesses for being with me and for being with our group today, and I look forward to our discussions and to working with Ranking Member Lynch and the Members of this Subcommittee.”


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