Tether Freezes Millions of Dollars USDT in 40 Addresses Amid Regulatory Pressure

Tether Freezes Millions of Dollars USDT in 40 Addresses Amid Regulatory Pressure

Stablecoin issuer Tether has blacklisted 40 Ethereum addresses holding millions of dollars of the tether cryptocurrency, 24 of which were banned this year. This finding follows the Centre Consortium taking a similar action due to a request by law enforcement.

Tether Frozen in 40 Addresses

Tether has banned 40 Ethereum addresses holding millions of dollars of the stablecoin USDT, according to an analysis by Ethereum researcher Philippe Castonguay who shared his findings on Dune Analytics. Banned addresses cannot receive or send the cryptocurrency.

The 40 addresses “have been banned from using USDT on Ethereum as of now,” Castonguay explained. According to the researcher, one address was frozen in 2017, eight in 2018, seven in 2019, and 24 in 2020 so far. At press time, the latest address on his list was banned on Friday.

Tether Freezes Millions of Dollars USDT in 40 Addresses Amid Regulatory Pressure
Philippe Castonguay’s Dune Analytics dashboard showing 40 banned Ethereum addresses.

“Tether routinely assists law enforcement in their investigations,” Stuart Hoegner, general counsel at Bitfinex, Tether’s sister company, told The Block. “Through the freeze address feature, Tether has been able to help users and exchanges to save and recover tens of millions of dollars stolen from them by hackers.” The publication added that its analysis shows that $5.51 million worth of USDT is held in addresses blacklisted this year.

Tether is not the only one freezing its coin. This week, the Centre Consortium blacklisted an address with $100,000 worth of the USDC stablecoin in response to a request from law enforcement. Castonguay made a similar Dune Analytics dashboard to keep track of addresses banned from using USDC, which so far only includes one address.

Meanwhile, the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division ruled on Thursday that State Attorney General Letitia James can continue her investigations into entities behind tether. Bitfinex and Tether are also involved in another ongoing lawsuit.

What do you think about Tether’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.

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US Dept of Homeland Security Buys Analytics Software From Coinbase

US Dept of Homeland Security Buys Analytics Software From Coinbase

Coinbase is selling its blockchain analytics software to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service. Following criticisms from the crypto community, CEO Brian Armstrong defended Coinbase’s position.

Coinbase Selling Analytics Software to US Government

Public records on the U.S. government’s websites reveal that the San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase has signed a contract with the U.S. government for its blockchain analytics software. The records were first spotted by The Block.

The contract, awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was signed on May 9. It went into effect the next day with a tentative end date of May 11, 2024. The obligated amount is currently $49,000 and the potential award amount is $183,750. The contracting agency is the U.S. Secret Service, a federal agency that investigates monetary crimes such as fraud and counterfeiting; it was transferred from the Department of the Treasury to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

Coinbase’s contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service for its blockchain analytics software. Source: U.S. government’s website.

Following the news of Coinbase selling its analytics software to the U.S. Secret Service, many people took to Twitter to criticize the company’s action, with some urging others to “delete Coinbase,” saying that the company is “bad for bitcoin and crypto.”

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong quickly defended his company’s decision. “Blockchain analytics software is nothing new – has been around a long time – it uses publicly available data to try and track crypto transactions – usually to catch bad actors,” he tweeted.

Armstrong proceeded to explain that his company started off by using some of the existing blockchain analytics services out there. “This worked out ok, but the issue with it was that we don’t like sharing data with third parties when we can avoid it, and they didn’t support all the features/chains we needed. So we realized at some point we would need to bring this capability in house,” the CEO described, elaborating:

It’s expensive to build this capability, and we want to recoup costs. There is an existing market for blockchain analytics software, so we sell it to a handful of folks as well. It also helps us build relationships with law enforcement which is important to growing crypto.

Last month, it was reported that Coinbase wanted to sell its analytics software to two other U.S. government agencies: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Meanwhile, the company is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S.

What do you think about Coinbase selling its analytics software to the government? Let us know in the comments section below.

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$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There’s Only 20,000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent

$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There's Only 20,000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent

For many years now physical bitcoins have been a very popular trend, but one specific type called the Casascius physical bitcoin collection has intrigued people for years. Last December, someone redeemed a 100 BTC Casascius bar and since then 560 Casascius coins worth $5.1 million have been redeemed. As of today, there are only 20,901 Casascius coins or bars left in the world, with roughly $424 million worth of bitcoins loaded on them.

Bitcoin’s believe it or not can have nostalgic value, especially when they are tethered to a physical bitcoin. During the last decade, numerous manufacturers have created physical bitcoins that have been loaded with the digital currency.

Most all of these types of coins are collector’s items, as the physical attributes can give the cryptocurrency numismatic value. One of the most popular physical bitcoin creators was Mike Caldwell who issued the Casascius physical bitcoin collection from 2011 to 2013.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government shut down Caldwell’s operation by telling him he could no longer load the physical coins with real digital bitcoin. However, during Caldwell’s tenure of making the Casascius physical bitcoin collection, he minted close to 90,000 BTC in various denominations.

On July 12, 2020, there’s only 45,760 active BTC held on Casascius physical coins or bars in existence, as there were roughly 46,320 active BTC coins in December 2019. That means at today’s BTC/USD exchange rates out of the 560 coins redeemed, $5.1 million in BTC was spent.

$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There's Only 20,000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent
Out of the 20,901 active Casascius bars and coins in existence, there are 45,760 active BTC (over $424 million) held on those physical products.

Last December when news.Bitcoin.com reported on the 100 BTC gold bar that was redeemed on the 23rd, it was the last 100 BTC peeled since then. So far the highest increment peeled between December and now, was a few 25 BTC coins. At the time of writing, there are still 48- 100 BTC bars that have not been spent, leaving $44.4 million left (100 BTC bars) unspent to-date.

Caldwell also minted a number of 1,000 BTC bars and so far, most of those have been redeemed. The series one 1,000 BTC bar data shows that 87% have been redeemed. The series two Casascius bars only stored 500 BTC and every single one of those bars have been peeled.

$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There's Only 20,000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent
Mike Caldwell minted both coins and bars during the manufacturing period between 2011 and 2013.

Although some individuals are lucky enough to own the series one 1,000 BTC Casascius coins minted in 2011. Only six were manufactured and there are four coins left, and that means only 33.33% of the BTC has been spent so far. It could be possible that due to the size of these coins being much smaller (28.6mm) than the bars (80mm x 40mm x 6mm), a few may have been lost.

In the Casascius collection, there are a lot more physical coins with smaller increments between 0.5 BTC to 25 BTC. As mentioned above, Casascius coins have given bitcoiners a lot of nostalgia, and lots of these coins have gathered numismatic value that far exceeds the BTC value stored on the coin.

$424 Million and Numismatic Value: There's Only 20,000 Casascius Physical Bitcoins Left Unspent
As of July 12, 2020, there’s approximately 45,764 BTC still active in the Casascius physical bitcoin collection.

For instance, on Ebay there’s two Casascius coins selling for far more than the original BTC value. One example shows a rare 2011- 1 BTC physical Casascius coin selling for $101,000. Another seller on the eBay auction website wants $25k for his 2013- fully funded 1 BTC Casascius coin.

There are not that many Casascius coins on eBay, but there’s a whole lot more coins from manufacturers like Denarium and BTCC Mint. Caldwell did make a number of unloaded Casascius bitcoins that contain no real digital currency value, and those trinkets sell for $25 a pop.

People can follow the redemption cycle of Casascius bitcoins on Twitter by following the bot called Casascius Coin Tracker (@Casasciusbot). When news.Bitcoin.com reported on the 100 BTC bar peel, it was the largest month between now and then for redemptions with 172 coins peeled. In mid-March 54 coins were redeemed and so far only 14 Casascius coins have been peeled in July.

Of course, the biggest month in a long while was December 2017, when the public witnessed 1,172 redeemed Casascius coins. As 560 Casascius coins worth $5.1 million have been redeemed since December 2019, it shows that these physical bitcoins are becoming rarer by the day. It’s likely that as scarcity continues to take hold of these loaded physical bitcoins, they will always be worth more than the original digital load value.

What do you think about the number of Casascius coins left in existence? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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