Tether, a prominent stablecoin issuer, has taken the unprecedented step of freezing $225 million worth of its own stablecoin. The move comes in the wake of a thorough investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into an international human trafficking syndicate operating in Southeast Asia.
Rising concerns in the Cryptocurrency landscape
In the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency landscape, there are increasing concerns about the misuse of cryptocurrencies. Earlier, as seen during the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Utilizing advanced blockchain analysis tools provided by Chainalysis, the months-long investigation resulted in the largest-ever freeze of a stablecoin. Lookonchain name handle on X (formerly Twitter) reveals that Tether froze the significant sum across 37 wallets, with the majority of these tokens having been previously transferred to OKX, a cryptocurrency exchange actively involved in the investigation.
CEO Ardoino emphasizes commitment to transparency
The focal point of the investigation revolves around a criminal syndicate engaged in the notorious “pig butchering” scam, a scheme flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that reportedly cost U.S. citizens a staggering $3.3 billion last year.
Crucially, the frozen tokens were identified to be held in self-custodied wallets and did not belong to Tether customers, as clarified in the press release. Paolo Ardoino, the CEO of Tether, emphasized the company’s commitment to proactive engagement with global law enforcement agencies and its dedication to transparency. Ardoino stated:
“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.”
This move follows Tether’s recent action of freezing 32 cryptocurrency addresses linked to terrorism and warfare in Ukraine and Israel. The company’s proactive stance in addressing illicit activities within the crypto space underscores its commitment to ensuring the integrity and safety of its platform.
As the crypto industry continues to navigate regulatory challenges, Tether’s decisive actions in collaboration with law enforcement agencies signal a growing trend toward increased accountability and security within the cryptocurrency space.