UK Tax Authorities Seize NFTs in Fraud Case

    Photo: Alex Castro / The Verge

    The Facts

    • Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs office, the British tax oversight agency, has seized 3 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in an alleged tax fraud case.

    • Three suspects were arrested in the case, which involved 250 fake corporate identities used to made fraudulent VAT refund claims.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    As with recent seizures of Bitcoin by the US DOJ, this case is further evidence that even the secretive and decentralized world of crypto assets isn't beyond the reach of the law. Law enforcement officials can successfully trace fraudulent activity through blockchain transactions and punish those responsible.

    Narrative B

    British authorities haven't actually "seized" anything: they've simply issued a court order restricting the sale of the NFTs in question. This isn't the same as taking custody. As in other cases of crypto asset seizure, the security of these digital goods is a function of their owners' IT hygiene.


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