Tether said it has frozen a total of $835 million in crypto assets working with 31 agencies across 19 jurisdictions.
Stablecoin firm Tether (USDT) seized digital assets worth $873,118.34 from 32 addresses linked to warfare and terrorism in Ukraine and Israel.
Critics of the crypto industry have frequently raised concerns about its potential use for funding terrorist and malicious operations. Figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren have underscored how illicit funds can flow through the sector despite government-imposed financial sanctions.
Recent events like the Palestine Hamas group’s attack on Israel have amplified these concerns. Reports indicated that Hamas had managed to amass millions in cryptocurrency to support their unexpected assault on the neighboring country.
In response, some crypto stakeholders—notably Tether and Binance—have announced efforts to work with authorities to curb the flow of illicit funds.
Last week, Binance assisted Israeli authorities in locating and freezing cryptocurrency accounts belonging to the Hamas group. The exchange had previously helped the authorities seize 190 accounts with ties to Islamic terrorist groups.
Tether has taken a similar stance, emphasizing its partnership with Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing (NBCTF) to combat crypto-based funding for terrorism and warfare in the region.
According to the stablecoin issuer, its corporation with this agency demonstrates “the innovative new capabilities and level of security that blockchain technologies can bring to the global financial system.”
Tether’s new CEO, Paolo Ardoino, acknowledged that though cryptocurrency is a powerful tool, it shouldn’t be used for criminal activities. He said:
“Contrary to popular belief, cryptocurrency transactions are not anonymous; they are the most traceable and trackable assets. Every transaction is recorded on the blockchain, making it feasible for anyone to trace fund movements. Consequently, criminals foolish enough to employ cryptocurrencies for illegal activities will inevitably be identified.”
Meanwhile, the USDT issuer revealed that it had impeded $835 million in crypto assets linked to illicit activities such as hacks and theft. This was achieved through collaborative efforts with 31 agencies spanning 19 jurisdictions, including prominent regions such as the United States, the U.K., and China.
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Author: Oluwapelumi Adejumo