In a strategic move against criminal cryptocurrency use, Tether and OKX have collaborated to freeze approximately $225 million in USDT tokens linked to a Southeast Asian human trafficking syndicate engaged in a pig butchering scam.
The pig butchering scam is a type of fraud in which criminals lure victims into digital relationships to build trust before convincing them to invest in cryptocurrency platforms. Unbeknownst to victims, the fraudsters control the platforms and will eventually take all the money and vanish.
This initiative, prompted by a U.S. Secret Service freeze request, is the largest-ever freeze of USDT in Tether’s history, showcasing blockchain’s transparency as a deterrent against illegal activities.
Through a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Tether and OKX leveraged analytical tools from Chainalysis to trace and identify the illicit funds on the blockchain.
This discovery prompted a proactive freeze request by the U.S. Secret Service, marking a milestone in the ongoing battle against cryptocurrency-related criminal activities.
The extensive investigation, spanning several months, involved close cooperation between Tether, OKX, and U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Notably, Tether clarified that the frozen wallets, situated on the secondary market, were not linked to its direct customers.
This development underscores the commitment of both companies to ensuring a secure crypto environment.
Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino reiterated the company’s dedication to fostering a secure crypto space through collaboration with the Department of Justice and partnerships like the one with OKX.
“Our recent collaboration with the Department of Justice underscores our dedication to fostering a secure environment. We believe in leveraging technology and relationships, such as our collaboration with OKX, to proactively address illicit activities and uphold the highest standards of integrity in the industry,” Ardoino stated.
Emphasising the use of technology and relationships, Ardoino highlighted the proactive stance in addressing illicit activities and maintaining industry integrity.
OKX Chief Innovation Officer Jason Lau echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of collaboration with law enforcement agencies to build trust and serve the public good in the crypto industry.
This joint effort by Tether and OKX signifies a substantial stride in showcasing how cryptocurrency industry players can effectively collaborate with global law enforcement agencies to combat criminal use.
Blockchain Transparency as a Tool
The measure taken by Tether and OKX underscores the potential of the cryptocurrency industry to proactively work against criminal activities. The inherent transparency in blockchain transactions serves as a powerful tool in deterring illicit activities, showcasing the industry’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity.