Secret Service seizes more than $102 million in crypto assets

The U.S. Secret Service has seized more than $102 million in illicit digital currencies since 2015.

In a CNBC interview, the head of the agency’s investigations office says cracking a crypto case is often like a “house of mirrors.”

Investigators are finding thieves will transfer stolen bitcoin and other digital currencies into stablecoins.

 WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secret Service is cracking down on illicit digital currency transactions, seizing more than $102 million in cryptocurrency from criminals in connection with fraud-related investigations.

David Smith, assistant director of investigations, said agents and analysts actively track the flow of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain, similar to an old-fashioned surveillance. Best known for protecting presidents, the Secret Service also conducts financial and cybercrime investigations.

“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s not different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers,” Smith said in an interview at the agency’s headquarters. “And once a person and another person make a transaction, and that gets into the blockchain, we have the ability to follow that email address or wallet address, if you will, and trace it through the blockchain.”

Representation of Bitcoin and Dogecoin cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration photo.

The crypto ecosystem has expanded significantly in recent years. While institutions such as the IMF are starting to embrace its innovation, they are also calling for investors to exercise caution.

Jakub Porzycki | NurPhoto via Getty Images

The seizure of more than $102 million in crypto has occurred in 254 cases since 2015, according to statistics compiled by the agency.


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