Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

The UK’s tax body, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), claims to be the first to capture an NFT, according to BBC News. Three people have been arrested in connection with a £1.4 million (approximately $1.9 million) fraud investigation. There were three NFT artworks seized by the authorities totaling £5,000 (approximately $6,762), but their value is yet unknown.

NFTs Seized By UK Tax Authorities

As the value of cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed, authorities have been making more and more high-profile seizures. The US Department of Justice confiscated $3.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies tied to the 2016 Bitfinex breach earlier this month. Nonetheless, this is one of the first high-profile seizures of NFTs, digital assets that aim to prove media ownership.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) hopes it “serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use Crypto Assets to HIDE MONEY.”

In order to keep up with the methods criminals and tax evaders use to conceal their assets, HMRC’s deputy director of economic crime, Nick Sharp, says the agency “constantly adapt[s] to new technology.” A “warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto assets to hide money from HMRC” is what he told the BBC.

Over 250 phoney firms are suspected in the fraud, which is said to have involved the three suspects hiding their operations from HMRC with everything from fake addresses and pre-paid phones to VPNs and stolen identities. A court injunction is preventing the sale of the NFTs, according to Sky News, but HMRC hasn’t taken ownership of them.

Authorities presumably won’t seize NFTs for the foreseeable future. According to Bloomberg Quint, an IRS special agent recently said that the agency is intensifying its emphasis on crypto-assets because of the “mountains” of fraud it is seeing in the industry. It’s only a matter of time until authorities get involved in the $16 billion industry of NFTs, which are sold for millions of dollars each.

By Adam

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