Monday, August 15

US revenue seized $3.5 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2021, and wants more

The IRS has been learning more and more cryptocurrencies over the years. The number that was 700,000 dollars in 2019, jumped to 137 million in 2020 and this year has risen 25 times with apprehensions totaling 3.5 billion dollars.

Among this amount is the sum of more than 1 billion dollars in bitcoin still from the Silk Road case. About 69,000 bitcoin were siphoned off by two agents of the DEA — a government agency that fights drug trafficking — in 2013.

The agency is expected to raise an additional $80 billion in 2022 to both expand its staff and improve its systems to solve cases like the one cited above. It is worth noting that this may represent an expense greater than the money learned, that is, good citizens foot the bill.

Seizures in 2021

The last report published by the IRS shows that the agency learned a total of 10.37 billion dollars in this last year. The cryptocurrency seizures total $3.5 billion and represent 93 percent of the amount confiscated by the cybercrime unit.

2021 Summary. Source: IRS, USA

Despite the expansion in case resolution, this amount is still small when compared to the total collected by taxes that reached 3.42 trillion dollars last year.

As reported by Bloomberg, the agency could receive an additional $80 billion next year, which will be used to hire at least 250 special agents and invest in systems to identify and solve cybercrime that, as shown above, are increasingly using cryptocurrencies.

“I expect a trend of cryptocurrency seizures to continue as we move into fiscal year 2022,” the IRS said.

Big cases solved

In addition to the seizure of around 69,000 BTC that had been embezzled by two DEA agents, the IRS report also points to three other cases that drew attention this year.

The first is a bitcoin scrambling service — called a mixer — used by users who want more anonymity on the network. According to the report, the service called Bitcoin Fog moved 1,200,000 BTC, equivalent to $335 million at the time. Your operator has been indicted for money laundering and other charges.

In addition to this there is also a case of a Microsoft employee who stole $10 million worth of BTC, being convicted of bank fraud, money laundering and other charges. The last case is related to brute force attacks, made by malware, whose focus was login credentials that were later sold on the internet.

Although Bitcoin is pseudo-anonymous, the transparency of transactions, along with data from other services, makes criminals easy targets for justice. Because of this, the dollar is still the most used money in illegal activities.