Binance Freezes 90% of Stolen $12.5 Million in Montenegro Crypto Heist

In a swift response to a crypto heist targeting executives of an undisclosed client in Montenegro, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed that more than 90% of the stolen $12.5 million in cryptocurrency assets has been frozen. The abductors reportedly forced the executives to empty their crypto wallets during a business trip. The stolen funds, denominated in USDT, were moved to a Tron wallet, enabling Binance to freeze $11.8 million of the assets.

Questions arose within the crypto community about the parallels between crypto and traditional banks in terms of asset seizure. CZ clarified that freezing assets is only feasible when they are transferred to centralized exchanges. He emphasized that using privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero (XMR) might limit intervention, whereas Bitcoin can be traced but not frozen until sent to a centralized exchange (CEX).

Binance’s rapid response aligns with industry-wide efforts to combat the illicit movement of crypto assets, particularly in light of recent reports linking cryptocurrency to terrorism financing. Major stakeholders in the crypto space have increasingly focused on implementing measures to curb the unlawful use of digital assets.

In a related development, Binance announced the discontinuation of Russian ruble (RUB) deposits starting November 15. This decision follows the sale of Binance’s Russian division to CommEX, a Russia-based crypto company. Controversies have emerged regarding the lack of details surrounding the sale and the newly established CommEX platform. Users are encouraged to transfer their Russian rubles without fees before completing withdrawals from Binance by January 2024.

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