In a recent development, Tether, the issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin, USDT, has taken action against cryptocurrency addresses allegedly associated with illicit activities related to terrorism and warfare in Israel and Ukraine. The company has frozen 32 wallet addresses, collectively containing $873,118.34.
Tether emphasised its commitment to combating cryptocurrency-related crimes, stating that it is actively collaborating with the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) of Israel. The move aligns with broader efforts to prevent digital currencies from being exploited for funding terrorism and warfare globally.
Paolo Ardoino, the newly appointed CEO of Tether, asserted, “Cryptocurrency is a powerful tool, but it is not a tool for crime. Contrary to popular belief, cryptocurrency transactions are not anonymous; they are the most traceable and trackable assets.”
The 32 frozen addresses were linked to activities in both Israel and Ukraine, with a total value of $873,118.34. Tether, known for its stability as a cryptocurrency pegged to traditional assets like the US dollar, expressed its determination to support responsible blockchain technology use.
Tether’s efforts extend beyond Israel and Ukraine, with the company claiming to have assisted 31 agencies in 19 jurisdictions worldwide. In these collaborations, $835 million in assets associated with theft and various crimes have been frozen.
TRM Labs, a U.S. blockchain analysis company, had previously highlighted Tether’s role as a “currency of choice” for terrorist financing in a February blog. The company had reported a significant increase in the use of Tether for such activities compared to other cryptocurrencies.
The pseudonymous nature of wallet addresses in the cryptocurrency space makes tracking transactions challenging, contributing to the attractiveness of certain cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes.
Tether’s actions come amid broader global concerns regarding the potential misuse of cryptocurrencies in the funding of terrorism. Israel had recently frozen crypto accounts used to solicit donations for Hamas, following an attack that resulted in casualties.
The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies varies globally, with different jurisdictions employing diverse approaches to mitigate risks associated with digital assets. Tether’s collaboration with law enforcement agencies reflects an industry-wide effort to address these challenges and promote the responsible use of blockchain technology.
Tether’s CEO Paolo Ardoino concluded the statement by reaffirming the company’s commitment to promoting responsible blockchain technology use. He expressed eagerness for continued collaboration with global law enforcement agencies, positioning Tether as a defence against cybercrime.
In a landscape where stablecoins play a crucial role in providing a bridge between traditional finance and the digital asset space, Tether’s actions underscore the industry’s growing recognition of the need to address illicit activities and maintain the integrity of the global financial system.