The United States Secret Service has seized more than $102 million in cryptocurrency to investigate illegal digital currency transactions.
NBC News reports that, according to stats, more than $102 million in crypto has been seized in 254 different cases since 2015. Agents and analysts have been keeping up with where and how digital currency is being used and moved on blockchain in an effort to crackdown on cybercrimes.
“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s not different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers,” said David Smith, assistant director of investigations during an interview at the agency’s headquarters, NBC News reports. “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.”
Some of the cases included in the investigation involved the creation of false ads on online auctions and sales websites for luxury items that don’t exist and then delivering the invoices from alleged well-known companies, NBC News reports.
“One of the things about cryptocurrency is it moves money at a faster pace than the traditional format,” Smith said, adding that the quick pace of transactions makes it attractive to both American consumers and criminals. “What criminals want to do is sort of muddy the waters and make efforts to obfuscate their activities. What we want to do is to track that as quickly as we can, aggressively as we can, in a linear fashion.”