The cryptocurrency company is stepping up its fight against the illegal use of its stablecoin that has been found to fund terrorism in Israel.
Tether, which issues the world’s largest stablecoin of the same name, says it has frozen 32 crypto wallets, containing $873,118.34 (€828,632.96), that were found to be linked to illicit activity in Israel and Ukraine.
The company states that they have been working with the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel to counter cryptocurrency-funded terrorism and warfare.
“We eagerly anticipate continued collaboration with global law enforcement agencies as part of our commitment to global security and financial integrity,” said Tether CEO, Paolo Ardoino.
Tether is the largest stablecoin by market capitalisation ($83 billion) and is pegged to the US dollar, meaning that each token is backed by $1 in reserve assets (which include cash and cash equivalents, US Treasuries, money market funds, Bitcoin, gold and other financial assets).
Crypto traders use stablecoins like Tether to make transfers between different cryptocurrencies or to move their investments into or out of fiat currencies.
The company said in a statement that it has aided 31 agencies worldwide with investigations across 19 jurisdictions, freezing a total of $835 million in assets mostly associated with theft (blockchain and exchange hacks).
“Cryptocurrency is a powerful tool, but it is not a tool for crime,” said Ardoino. “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.”
Crypto financing terrorism
Amidst reports that the armed wing of Hamas is using increasingly complex methods of raising funds via bitcoin, last week the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, had frozen hundreds of crypto accounts associated with the terrorist group, following requests from Israeli law enforcement.
The digital-currency wallets connected to Hamas, reportedly received about $41 million over the past two years, according to the data of Tel Aviv-based crypto analytics and software firm BitOK.