World Feds are seizing cryptocurrency from criminals. Now they have to figure out what to do with it.
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Due to a surge of cryptocurrency-fueled crimes, federal law enforcement is seizing a lot of bitcoin. Now the US government is figuring out what to do with all of it.
This week, a small platform for safekeeping cryptocurrency called Anchorage Digitalit had won a contract from the Department of Justice to store and liquidate digital assets that federal law enforcement seizes following criminal investigations. The government has essentially hired a bank to store and sell billions of dollars’ worth of forfeited cryptocurrency, including troves of bitcoin and ethereum. Anchorage Digital, which is based in San Francisco, is an obvious choice for a partner, as it’s .
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“There’s no traditional bank that actually offers these services because this is extremely complex from a technical perspective,” Diogo Monica, Anchorage’s co-founder and president, told Recode. “It’s very hard to store these safely. In fact, there are many, many stories of people losing access to their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency wallets and just losing access completely to them without the ability to be recovered.”
That the US Marshals Service needs to hire a cryptocurrency company for help is a reminder that, as these kinds of digital assets go mainstream, they’re also becoming more popular with criminals. In fact, as law enforcement shut down illegal cryptocurrency operations, from ransomware schemes to illegal online markets, it’s clear that the US government could hold a very large amount of bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrency. Accordingly, Uncle Sam might even become a more significant player in the crypto marketplace in the months and years to come.
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Since its creation, cryptocurrency has been popular for criminals because the accounts and transactions are difficult to trace back to any one person. Now crypto is at the center of a wide swath of illegal schemes, including blackmail, Covid-19 vaccine counterfeits, money laundering operations, and . In the first half of this year alone, people sent more than $2 million worth of cryptocurrency to Elon Musk impersonators following on social media, (FTC). And earlier this month, a Swedish man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he to orchestrating one of the largest cryptocurrency-based Ponzi schemes the US government has ever prosecuted. The man had tricked people into sending him bitcoin, as well as other digital payments, under the guise of a (fake) gold-backed investment opportunity.
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“Cryptocurrency is not government currency, so it’s very international in scope, which is why it has become even more popular with transnational organized crime, as well as terrorism,” said Suzanne Lynch, a professor who focuses on economic crime at Utica College.
Through investigating these crimes and prosecuting the perpetrators, federal law enforcement has acquired a sizable cache of cryptocurrency. In June, the DOJ seized aboutthe FBI had obtained after tracking the movement of a with the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack earlier this summer. This was after the agency in cryptocurrency that once belonged to Ross Ulbricht, creator of the online black market Silk Road, which federal officials shut down in 2013. Ulbricht was that year and of distributing narcotics and money laundering in 2015.
“There’s no differentiation here between crypto and an oil tanker, for lack of a better example, or car or fiat, when it comes to how it will ultimately be used in an asset forfeiture regime,” said Ari Redbord, a former prosecutor and the head of government affairs at TRM, a cryptocurrency fraud detection startup.
New steering of a jewelry in Paris, the booty estimated at 400 000 euros
© Patrick Guyomard / West-France The repression brigade of the banditry is responsible for the investigation. Photo Stock Illustration. Three days after the booming of the Chaumetry jewelry in Paris, a new jewelry was pointed out this Friday, July 30, 2021 in the capital. The booty is estimated at 400,000 euros. Two men focused on Friday 30 July 2021 A jewelery of the Ive arrondissement of Paris , and made low hand on a booty (jewelry and cash) re-evaluated at 400,000 euros.
The US Marshals Service is the agency in charge of holding and auctioning off many seized assets, including art, rare, and real estate, from disgraced pharmaceuticals to . Since , the DOJ’s asset forfeiture program, which is run by the marshals, has taken the same approach with cryptocurrency and opened up its stores of crypto it seizes to bids from the public. But the Marshals Service that it was looking for more help managing all these digital assets.
“Pricing, how to price them, how to evaluate how to liquidate it, how to safekeep it — people are being forced to deal with the asset class because it’s so prevalent now,” Monica, of Anchorage, told Recode. To do that well can be especially tricky, since cryptocurrency markets can be.
As the DOJ moves forward with its plan to manage digital assets, calls for tighter regulations on cryptocurrency are coming from higher and higher up. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for instance, said this month that cryptocurrencies should, while some senators recently proposed taxing cryptocurrency transactions to fund President Joe Biden’s . Earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell even suggested that the federal government could launch a digital version of the US dollar as , though he’s still undecided on whether that’s a good idea.
Despite lawmakers’ and regulators’ growing concern about cryptocurrencies, their popularity is forcing the government to adapt. One recent survey from NORC, a research institute at the University of Chicago, found thatin the US bought or traded crypto in the past year alone, compared to the estimated that have invested in the stock market, according to Pew.
This all serves as a reminder that cryptocurrencies are only becoming more prevalent, which means that crypto scammers aren’t going away anytime soon. So beware of demands for cryptocurrency payments from fishy romantic prospects, too-good-to-be-true investment opportunities, supposed blackmailers, and people claiming to be Elon Musk. If you’re not careful, your bitcoin might end up in the federal government’s new crypto bank.
Border agents in Texas pick up MS-13 gang members, sex offender .
Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas have apprehended two MS-13 gang members and a migrant convicted of a sex crime against a child -- the latest instance of criminals arrested at the border amid fears of criminals getting into the U.S. by exploiting the border crisis. Agents in McAllen apprehended a Honduran migrant on Wednesday who was discovered to have affiliations with MS-13, and then hours later apprehended a migrant from Guatemala who was determined to be an MS-13 gang member from a criminal records check, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a release.