Tether, the stablecoin issuer, has frozen 32 addresses containing $873,118 worth of USDT due to their involvement in illicit activities in Israel and Ukraine. This action was taken in collaboration with Israel's National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing. Tether's CEO, Paolo Ardoino, emphasized that cryptocurrency transactions are not as anonymous as commonly believed, as they are highly traceable on blockchain platforms. The stablecoin issuer is actively working with law enforcement agencies worldwide to track and trace funds involved in criminal and terrorist activities, freezing such assets where possible. Tether has previously frozen over $360 million in assets, later reissuing over $100 million of USDT.
Overall, Tether estimates that it has frozen $835 million in USDT, primarily associated with blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange hacks. The company has cooperated with 32 countries to address illicit cyber activities involving its dollar-backed stablecoin. Israel's defense minister, Yoav Gallant, revealed in June 2023 that the country had seized cryptocurrency wallets containing millions of dollars transferred to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Cybercriminals have also shifted away from using Bitcoin for transferring value online, opting for stablecoins and altcoins due to their accessibility and the potential to launder funds through decentralized exchanges, as indicated by blockchain data.