Cryptocurrency custodian Anchorage Digital has been chosen by the United States Marshals Service to handle all of the cryptocurrency assets that are seized by the Justice Department and other federal law enforcement agencies.
The US now handles billions in crypto assets that are obtained through seizures or forfeitures. The DOJ announced in 2017 that it made $48,238,116 from the sale of 144 336 Bitcoins taken from Ross William Ulbricht, a wealthy crypto-investor implicated in a number of crimes connected to the Silk Road underground website.
Since then, the Justice Department has raked in dozens of different kinds of crypto assets, and in 2019, the United States Marshals Service began the search for a partner to "handle the full lifecycle of seized digital assets."
After more than a year, Anchorage Digital co-founders Diogo Mónica and Nathan McCauley said their company was chosen to be the "the provider of digital asset custody and financial services" for the US Marshals Service.
The US Marshals Service typically seizes cash, real estate, art, and other asset classes used in the course of committing a federal crime, but now cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming popular.
"In practice, this award means that Anchorage will be responsible for providing a full suite of cryptocurrency services, including custody, liquidation, and such activities as accounting, customer management, audit compliance, managing blockchain forks, wallet creation, the transformation of token assets into coin assets, etc., as well as future actions associated with the virtual currency forfeiture process," Mónica and McCauley explained in a blog post.
"Since the beginning, we have been vocal proponents of consumer protections and champions of compliance in the digital asset space. We are incredibly proud of our team and are incredibly proud to be named the digital asset platform trusted by the US Department of Justice."
In 2020, the DOJ seized more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies following another investigation into the Silk Road website. Casa CEO Jameson Lopp created a website that tracks how much Bitcoin has been sold by US authorities, finding that the total amount of Bitcoin seized and sold is now at 185,230.7501. Authorities made $151,493,104 from the sale of the coins, and the current value of all the Bitcoin sold is currently $7,443,127,231. The site notes that the potential gains in USD that were missed by law enforcement are $7,291,634,127.
According to Decrypt, the contract with Anchorage is worth $6.6 million, and the US Marshals Service signed a similar pact with BitGo in April. The brokerage will help manage forfeited cryptocurrencies worth millions.
Anchorage became the first digital bank with a federal charter earlier this year.