RJ Pierce, Tech Times
Crypto was one of the main targets of the IRS this year, and they managed to accumulate quite a lot of it from illegal activities.
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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 15: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building stands on April 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. April 15 is the deadline in the United States for residents to file their income tax returns.
NBC News reports that the IRS has managed to seize a total of $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency during the fiscal year 2021. This comprised a massive 93 percent of all its seizures spanning October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.
Much of the crypto seized by the IRS in the past fiscal year is bitcoin, which has now become a major investment vessel for big-name financial institutions.
A good chunk of the $3.5 billion figure is tied up in high-profile cases and largely due to how crypto values–specifically bitcoins–have soared over recent years.
$1 billion of the cryptocurrency the IRS seized allegedly came from the Silk Road case. A total of 69,000 coins was taken from the crackdown, which brought down the infamous black market on the dark web.
Furthermore, an extra $10 million in digital currency was seized from a case involving a former Microsoft employee. The suspect was busted selling Xbox gift cards.
With cases such as this, the IRS realized just how much crypto’s reputation has grown in the criminal world.
According to an investigation by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of Treasury, bitcoin ransom payments totaling $590 million were found to have been made during the first half of 2021 alone.
For now, expect that this won’t be the IRS’ last tangle with illicit crypto.
A report by AlJazeera states that the authorities are expecting their crypto seizures to continue well into 2022. Numerous plans are already being put into action for the IRS to better identify cybercrimes that may use digital currency to hide their tracks.
(Photo : Getty Images )
Jim Lee, the IRS’ Chief of Criminal Investigation, says that they’re seeing cryptocurrencies being used in more crimes moving forward.
Read Also: New Biggest Crypto Theft Conducted by American Teen? Canadian Police Arrest Young Thief After Stealing $36.5 Million Digital Coins
Crypto And Criminal Activities
For so long, one mantra has driven numerous crime investigators to track down criminals: “follow the money.” But in modern times, it’s quite hard to do the same thing. And that’s where cryptocurrency comes in.
Many analysts say that crypto is preferred by many cybercriminals because of one thing: its anonymous nature, according to the BBC. If you play your cards right, you can trade billions of dollars worth of digital currency without ever leaving a trace.
This connection, however, is something a lot of crypto enthusiasts/online communities are fighting against.
(Photo : Getty Images )
Coinbase posted a fact-check article regarding the alleged widespread usage of digital currencies for illicit finance. There, they clapped back by saying that while it is entirely possible for criminals to trade in crypto to hide their tracks, they claim that less than 1% of all cryptocurrency transactions being made are illegal.
They also argued that cash remains the number one mode of finance for criminal activities. Data from the UN reveals a total of $1.6 trillion in cash is being laundered yearly, which is far beyond what’s happening in the crypto space.
Either way, the IRS will still be looking closely into digital currencies for any hint of criminal activity.
Related Article: Different Types of Cryptocurrency
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Written by RJ Pierce
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