Stablecoin issuer Tether freezes three addresses holding $160 million of assets upon law enforcement request

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Tether, issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin USDT
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on Thursday froze three addresses on the Ethereum blockchain holding $160 million of its assets.

The company blacklisted the addresses upon request from law enforcement, a representative of Tether told MarketWatch, while declining to provide further details.

Cryptocurrency-based crime hit a new all-time high in 2021, with illicit addresses receiving $14 billion during the year, up from $7.8 billion in 2020, according to a recent Chainalysis report.

The rise in crime has attracted growing attention from law enforcement agencies. The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations unit said in November that it seized $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency in nontax investigations during the fiscal year, which makes up 93% of all funds seized during the same period.

Tether said it regularly helps international law enforcement agencies with investigations “to trace and potentially freeze wallets” in a letter published in the South China Morning Post in 2021. The company has blocked 563 addresses since 2017, according to data analytics site Bloxy.

 

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