Stablecoin issuer Tether has moved to freeze 32 addresses linked to terrorist activity in Israel and Ukraine in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies.
$873,118 worth of USDT linked to illicit activity in Israel and Ukraine have been frozen, according to announcement from the company. The action was taken in a collaboration with Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing.
Paolo Ardoino, who was appointed as Tether CEO in Oct. 2023, highlighted the fact that cryptocurrency transactions are easily traced on blockchain platforms which has enabled Tether to assist in blocking the use of USDT linked to terrorist funding.
“Contrary to popular belief, cryptocurrency transactions are not anonymous; they are the most traceable and trackable assets.”
The CEO added that the stablecoin issuer is actively working with global law enforcement agencies to track and trace illicit movement of funds and where possible, freeze assets linked to criminal and terrorist activity.
In late 2022, Tether had frozen more than $360 million in assets. The company subsequently reissued over $100 million of USDT that had been intercepted.
The company now estimates that it has frozen a total of $835 million of USDT mainly associated with blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange hacks. Tether has worked with 32 countries around the world to assist in addressing illicit cyber activity involving its dollar-backed stablecoin.
In June 2023, Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant announced that the country had seized cryptocurrency wallets containing millions of dollars that had been transferred to terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Making use of Chainalysis blockchain analysis tools, over $1.7 million of cryptocurrency was seized in the operation.
Meanwhile blockchain data indicates that cybercriminals have moved away from using Bitcoin as a means to transfer value over the internet, opting to make use of stablecoins and alt coins due to their accessibility and ability to be laundered through decentralized exchanges (DEXs).