US Secret Service confiscates $102 million worth of cryptocurrencies2 min read
The United States Secret Service has announced that it has seized more than $102 million worth of cryptocurrencies from criminals investigated for fraud. The seizure is part of the secret service’s strategy to crack down on illicit cryptocurrency transactions.
According to David Smith, Assistant Director of Investigations, agents and analysts actively track the flow of BTC and other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain. In a recent interview with CNBC, Smith explained:
“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it is no different than an email address that has some identifiers correlated. And once a person and another person make a transaction, and that enters the blockchain, we have the ability to follow that email address or wallet address, if you like, and track it through the blockchain.”
As Smith explained, once the agency identifies illegal activity, it works to “deep deeper into these transactions and deconstruct them.”
Tracking cryptocurrencies on the blockchain
The total amount, which exceeds BRL 476 million in reais, was seized in 254 cases since 2015.
Among them is the case of an investigation with the Romanian National Police. In this case, 900 US people fell victim to misleading online auction advertisements. After carrying out the scams, criminals used cryptocurrencies to launder illicit money.
Other cases have targeted a Russian cybercrime syndicate. The organization also used a cryptocurrency exchange to launder funds.
As Smith pointed out, cryptocurrencies move money at a faster pace than the traditional format.
“What criminals want to do is kind of muddy the waters and make efforts to obfuscate their activities. What we want to do is track this as quickly as possible, as aggressively as possible, in a linear fashion.”
Finally, the assistant director of investigations stated that investigators have now discovered that criminals are converting cryptocurrencies into stablecoins to escape volatility. So to keep up with that activity, they’re looking at the market more broadly.
“Because, you know, criminals, they’re human too. They want to avoid some of that market volatility associated with some of the major currencies,” he said.
Emirates plans to launch NFTs and expand experiences in the metaverse