UK Authorities Make First NFT Seizure, Worth $1.9 Million

By Jody McDonald February 16, 2022 In Crime, Crypto News, NFTs

In what is claimed to be the first haul of its kind in the UK, tax authorities have seized three NFTs valued at US$1.9 million as part of an investigation into an elaborate tax evasion scheme.

On February 14, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) arrested three people alleged to have conducted the fraud, which involved the use of false identities and a vast network of 250 fake ‘shell’ companies. In addition to the NFTs, other digital assets valued at approximately A$9,500 were also seized.

A Questionable Milestone? 

Many in the crypto community saw the seizure as something of a milestone and an official acknowledgment that NFTs can be genuinely valuable assets, similar to real estate or motor vehicles – even as they joked about it: 

One user joked about NFT asset seizures. Source: @3thirty3tv via Twitter

Seizure Signals Value of NFTs

It’s important to note that the NFTs were not actually used to commit the fraud, but seized as assets. It’s common practice for authorities to impound assets in tax-evasion cases to cover the cost of court proceedings and lost tax. What makes this case exceptional is that authorities have seized NFTs as assets for the first time.


This may be the first NFT seizure during a criminal investigation in the UK, but it’s not the first time crypto has been seized: last year London’s Metropolitan Police impounded US$160 million in cryptocurrency as part of a money-laundering investigation.

Jody McDonald

Jody McDonald

Jody is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who specialises in writing about business, technology, and the future of work.

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