IRS Seized $1.2 Billion in Crypto and Quietly Auctioned Some Off

By Robert Drage August 06, 2021 In Bitcoin, Crime, Crypto News, Litecoin

In June, GSA Auctions tried to sell off some confiscated crypto with an estimated value of US$377,000, bringing total seizures so far in 2021 to US$1.2 billion.

US General Services Administration (GSA) auctions are just one of the entities that sell off federal property seized by the IRS. The most recent lot, with an estimated value of $21,500, is 4TQSCI21402001, confiscated as part of a tax non-compliance case with combined lots worth about $377,000.

GSA first began auctioning cryptocurrency on behalf of the US government in early 2021. To date, bidders on the GSA Auctions platform have successfully bid for a total of 16.99 bitcoins over three auctions that collected a combined $937,092.

Experienced investors recognise a good opportunity when they see it, which is why our auctions have generated so much enthusiasm among the crypto community […] With the addition of a new type of cryptocurrency, this promises to be one of our most exciting auctions of the year.

Thomas Meiron, regional commissioner, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service

US Government Has Been Trading in Crypto Since 2013

Since 2013 the US Government has been selling confiscated crypto including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others, with Silk Road being one of the earliest and largest cases of crypto seizure. The Silk Road wallet containing approximately 30,000 BTC was eventually sold to venture capitalist Tim Draper for US$19 million, now worth over US$1.1 billion.

According to Jarod Koopman, director of the IRS cybercrime unit, “In fiscal year 2019, we had about $700,000 worth of crypto seizures. In 2020, it was up to $137 million. And so far in 2021, we’re at $1.2 billion.”

The government has been seizing, stockpiling and selling off cryptocurrencies, alongside the usual assets one would expect to be gleaned from high-profile criminal sting operations.

It could be 10 boats, 12 cars, and then one of the lots is X number of bitcoin being auctioned.

Jarod Koopman,  director, IRS cybercrime unit

Lawbreakers Providing Government With Some Pocket Money

With the increase of cybercrime and crypto scams, the haul of digital tokens will increase along with it. And with the US Treasury setting its sights on tax evaders trying to use crypto to beat the tax man, government crypto safe boxes are expected to swell even further.

Since the Silk Road takedown, the government has successfully established a workflow that remains in place.

“Interviews with current and former federal agents and prosecutors suggest the US has no plans to step back from its side hustle as a crypto broker,” CNBC reported on August 4.

Robert Drage

Robert Drage

Robert is a freelance researcher, with a background in information science currently interested in blockchain technology and technical developments in the field.

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