A new front has emerged in Israel’s fight against the funding of Iran-backed groups from Hamas to Hezbollah: A fast-growing crypto network called Tron, Reuters reports.
Quicker and cheaper than its larger rival Bitcoin, Tron has overtaken its rival as a platform for crypto transfers associated with groups designated as terror organisations by Israel, the United States, and other countries, according to interviews with seven financial crime experts and blockchain investigations specialists.
A Reuters’ analysis of crypto seizures announced by Israeli security services since 2021 reflects the trend, showing for the first time a sharp rise in the targeting of Tron wallets and a fall in Bitcoin wallet seizures.
“Earlier it was Bitcoin and now our data shows that these terrorist organisations tend to increasingly favor Tron,” said Mriganka Pattnaik, CEO of New York-based blockchain analysis firm Merkle Science, citing Tron’s faster transaction times, low fees, and stability.
Merkle Science says it counts law enforcement agencies in the United States, Britain, and Singapore as clients.
Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF), which is responsible for such seizures, froze 143 Tron wallets between July 2021 and October 2023 that it believed were connected to a “designated terrorist organisation” or used for a “severe terror crime,” the Reuters analysis found.