Tether responds to US lawmakers’ calls for DOJ action
Tether, the company behind the stablecoin Tether (USDT), disclosed letters directed to U.S. legislators, addressing requests for intervention by the Department of Justice in relation to the illicit use of its stablecoin.
The communications were sent to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Nov. 16 and Dec. 15, detailing “Tether’s commitment to fighting illicit use of stablecoins.”
The letters aim to answer calls from Senator Cynthia Lummis and Representative French Hill from October, urging the DOJ “to carefully evaluate the extent to which Binance and Tether are providing material support and resources to support terrorism.”
The lawmakers made the remarks after Hamas launched a coordinated attack against Israel on Oct. 7, which they suggested was supported in part by illicit crypto transactions “providing significant terrorism financing.”
As part of its response, Tether stated that it has a Know Your Customer (KYC) program, a transaction monitoring system, and a “proactive approach” to identifying suspicious accounts and activities.
In addition, Tether noted that clients’ reviews do not end with their onboarding, claiming to use surveillance monitoring tools to continuously track client activity. “In particular, Tether uses the Reactor tool from Chainalysis and receives secondary market risk reports from this Company. These surveillance tools are considered to be the leading options for blockchain surveillance and are used by many U.S. government agencies to surveil activity on the blockchain.”
In a related development, Tether announced on Dec. 9 that it had initiated a voluntary wallet-freezing policy, offering secondary market controls to freeze activity connected with sanctioned persons on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List.
Previously, in 2022, Tether had refused to proactively freeze wallets associated with irregular activities. However, the intense crackdown on crypto firms in the U.S. — and across the world — prompted the company to rethink its strategy.
“Tether seeks to be a world class partner to the U.S. as we continue to assist law enforcement and expand dollar hegemony globally,” noted Tether’s CEO Paolo Ardoino.
The scrutiny of crypto firms in the U.S. over 2023 favored USDT’s market share, which sits at $90 billion at the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap.
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