Tether Implements Sanctions on 161 Ethereum Wallets, Few Hold USDT

Key Points:

  • Tether’s freeze targets 161 wallets, which are majorly USDT-free.
  • One wallet holds 97% of frozen USDT, linked to Stake hack.
  • Sanctioned wallets reveal varied USDT holdings, from thousands to cents.

Tether, the leading stablecoin USDT issuer, has recently imposed sanctions on Ethereum wallets flagged by the United States Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC). This action, which Tether describes as a proactive measure to avert any misuse of its tokens and to bolster security protocols, has resulted in the freezing of 161 wallets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Upon examining blockchain data through Etherscan, it was found that out of the 161 wallets frozen by Tether, a majority of 150 wallets currently do not contain any USDT. The history of these wallets and whether they previously held USDT remains unclear.

A Closer Look at the Balances

Of the 11 wallets that do hold USDT, one particular address stands out, containing nearly 97% of the total 3.5 million USDT affected by the freeze. This wallet, linked by blockchain investigator ZachXBT to a recent hack of the betting platform Stake, was actively transacting shortly before Tether’s enforcement action, with hundreds of transactions recorded in the past week.

The other wallets with USDT holdings present a stark contrast in terms of balance. Two of these addresses have around 20,000 USDT each, while another holds close to 60,000 USDT. The remaining wallets have significantly smaller amounts, with one holding a mere 16 cents in USDT. Interestingly, this wallet was involved in a large transaction of over 400,000 USDT through THORChain just a day before the freeze. However, the intermediate wallets used in this transaction have not been subjected to Tether’s recent sanctions.

Exploring USDT Holdings on Other Networks

Further investigations into other blockchain networks revealed additional details. On the Polygon network, only two wallets were found to hold USDT, collectively accounting for just over 10,000 tokens. One of these wallets also holds USDT on Ethereum’s mainnet. Searches on other networks, such as Arbitrum and Optimism, yielded no wallets with USDT holdings within the list of sanctioned addresses.

Tether’s recent action underscores the growing focus on regulatory compliance within the cryptocurrency sector, particularly concerning using digital assets in illicit activities. The freezing of these wallets marks a critical step in aligning with global financial regulations and showcases Tether’s commitment to preventing the misuse of its digital currency.

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Raymond Munene

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Raymond Munene