Police in the UK seize £ 300m worth of Bitcoin in cryptocurrency wallet linked to crime, with more under surveillance

  • Of the total cryptocurrencies seized by UK police, Bitcoin alone contributes a whopping 99% of the total amount.
  • UK police are working on creating a technologically advanced infrastructure to deal with criminals who use crypto assets.

UK police seized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from crime-related crypto holdings. The latest criminal investigations into the UK police have resulted in the seizure of almost 300 million pounds of Bitcoin.

According to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Request, 12 out of 48 British police forces have seized this digital asset in the last five years. Bitcoin alone accounts for 99% of the currency seized in the UK. The remaining 1% includes other altcoins like Ethereum, Dash, Monero, and Zcash.

According to the report, the actual amount seized could be even higher, as all 15 police forces in the UK did not respond to the request. Speaking to local news publication City AM, some experts said this could be just a small part of the illicit funds used in the UK. In addition, the police have tackled serious technological and legislative obstacles to cryptocurrency-related crimes.

Joseph Harrop, Detective Chief Inspector of the Greater Manchester Police Economic Crime Unit, said the adoption of crypto by unsuspecting criminals is fast. Therefore, law enforcement agencies need to acquire new skills to deal with these cases and confiscate the funds.

For this reason, UK police have recruited civilian staff with technical knowledge of digital assets and trained them to work with detectives.

Legal obstacles to the seizure of illegal cryptocurrencies

UK police have said it is not easy to seize a cryptocurrency wallet. Under the Proceeds of Crime in the UK Act 2002, the police can seize money if they are found to be involved in criminal activity. However, the powers to seize non-monetary assets, such as cryptocurrencies, have a more limited scope.

Another major technological problem is that digital currencies have extremely strong encryption. So, despite seizing the cryptocurrency wallet, the police cannot easily access the funds because they do not have the encrypted keys. Harrop said:

If we do laptops, recover USB memories, they may have an encryption level and, yes, there is difficulty getting into it. Although it may seem silly, sometimes people leave gold nuggets or solid evidence in which they can write what we want on a piece of paper.

Jake Moore, former head of digital forensic investigation for Dorset Police, said digital investigations are still in their infancy. He said they will need much more resources to combat this growing encrypted crime. He ended by saying:

Cybercrime is well aware of the well-documented evasion tactics available, but law enforcement is improving at a rate that will slowly evolve over time. By using enhanced surveillance techniques on suspects, increasing intelligence, and improving the profiles of those believed to be involved, they all help to create stronger evidence for the recovery and recovery of funds. confiscation. However, the cost of this may in many cases exceed the recoverable amount.

Javier Marquez

Javier Marquez has been closely following the development of bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2017. Since then, he has been working as a columnist, reporting on the ups and downs, implications and developments of the cryptocurrency market. He believes that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will have a huge positive impact on people's lives.

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