Stablecoin issuer Tether has recently made a significant move in response to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into an international human trafficking syndicate in Southeast Asia. In an unprecedented move, Tether has frozen $225 million worth of its own stablecoin, making it the largest-ever freeze of a stablecoin in history.
To aid in the investigation, Tether collaborated with global law enforcement agencies and made use of blockchain analysis tools provided by Chainalysis. Through these tools, they were able to identify and freeze the $225 million across 37 wallets. Most of these tokens had been previously transferred to the OKX crypto exchange, which was also involved in the investigation.
The criminal syndicate under investigation is associated with the notorious “pig butchering” scam, which cost U.S. citizens approximately $3.3 billion in losses last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
It is important to note that the frozen tokens were held in self-custodied wallets and did not belong to Tether customers. This action by Tether highlights their commitment to maintaining safety and transparency within the crypto space. Paolo Ardoino, the CEO of Tether, expressed their dedication to these principles, stating, “Through proactive engagement with global law enforcement agencies and our commitment to transparency, Tether aims to set a new standard for safety within the crypto space.”
In addition to their involvement in the investigation into the human trafficking syndicate, Tether also recently froze 32 crypto addresses that were linked to terrorism and warfare in Ukraine and Israel. These actions demonstrate Tether’s proactive approach in combating illicit activities within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
As the investigation progresses, Tether’s cooperation with law enforcement agencies and their commitment to transparency will likely set an example for other cryptocurrency issuers to follow. It serves as a reminder that the industry must remain vigilant in addressing and deterring criminal activities in order to build trust and ensure the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies.
What is Tether?
Tether is a stablecoin issuer that provides a digital representation of traditional currencies. It is designed to maintain a stable value by pegging its price to a specific fiat currency, such as the U.S. dollar.
What is a stablecoin?
A stablecoin is a type of cryptocurrency that aims to maintain a stable value, typically by pegging its price to a fiat currency or a basket of assets.
What are self-custodied wallets?
Self-custodied wallets refer to digital wallets where individuals have complete control and responsibility for storing and securing their own cryptocurrency assets, as opposed to relying on third-party custodians.
What are the implications of Tether’s actions?
Tether’s decision to freeze $225 million worth of its own stablecoin showcases its commitment to collaborating with law enforcement agencies in combating illicit activities. It also serves as a reminder to the cryptocurrency industry about the importance of maintaining safety and transparency to build trust among users and regulators.