U.S. Treasury sanctions Bitcoin wallets for the first time

Last week, the U.S. Treasury’s Department of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) targeted two bitcoin addresses, and announced that the wallets associated with Iranian citizens, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, had been added to The list of sanctions of the specially designated nationals.

The penalties, which are the first of its kind, are part of a wider movement to track and restrict movements in the digital space that involve money laundering and cybercrime.
In addition, the OFAC noted that the agency would be investigating the exchanges that facilitated the transactions of these individuals:
“We are publishing addresses on the digital currency to identify the illicit actors operating in their space. The Treasury will aggressively pursue Iran and other dishonest regimes attempting to exploit the digital currencies and weaknesses of cyber and ALA/CFT safeguards to promote their nefarious objectives.

The cause of the sanctions, according to the OFAC, was that Khorashadizadeh and Ghorbaniyan were involved in malicious attacks of the ransomeware SamSam.

In addition to the sanctions imposed on Khorashadizadeh and Ghorbaniyan, it is pointed out that two others, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri were officially indicted for a charge of conspiracy to commit cable fraud, a charge of conspiracy to Committing computer-related fraud and other charges that accuse them of intentionally damaging protected computers and illegally transmitting claims related to protected computers.

Ransomeware SamSam has impacted more than 200 victims to date, including hospitals, corporations, universities and government facilities.

In an interview with CoinDesk Ghorbaniyan explained:

“I did not know that SamSam’s criminal activities were associated with the Bitcoins I received from these two clients and, frankly, I am still not sure whether these two people are behind SamSam’s crimes.” He also added, “I do a standard procedure to meet your client (KYC). And there’s no reason to distrust my clients once I do that process. “

Sanctions set a new precedent
Although Khorashadizadeh and Ghorbaniyan were the subject of possible involvement in criminal activities, the United States Department of the Treasury’s decision establishes a new precedent in the Criptoesfera.

With Iran currently recovering from broader economic sanctions by the U.S. And the use of increasing bitcoin in the Middle East country, it is possible that these actions may be the first of many. And the consequences of the exchanges caught in the crossfire could be serious.

“As Iran becomes increasingly isolated and desperate to access US dollars, it is vital that virtual currency exchanges, peer Interchangers, and other digital money service providers strengthen their networks against these Illicit schemes, “explained Followl Mandelker, of the Treasury. Undersecretary of terrorism and financial intelligence.

Criptomonedas and privacy are a target of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to the drive to end illicit Bitcoin transactions, authorities are also looking for ways to rule in private currencies such as Nero and Zcash, according to the new pre-application.

“A key feature underlying these new blockchain platforms that is often emphasized is the ability to protect anonymity and privacy. While these characteristics are desirable, there is a compelling interest in tracking and understanding transactions and actions in blockchain of an illegal nature, “the pre-application states.

The notice suggests that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security He is considering the development of a forensic tool that will allow the agency to monitor, track and identify users of several private currencies, as Chainalysis has done with the Bitcoin blockchain.

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