USMS Hires Anchorage as Crypto Custodian

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  • The U.S Marshals Service has taken on Anchorage as its cryptocurrency custodian
  • Anchorage will take over from BitGo to look after the crypto seized by the USMS from criminal enterprises
  • The USMS auctions off bitcoin it has seized, most famously in 2014

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), who routinely recover and custody cryptocurrencies as proceeds of crime in the U.S., has chosen Anchorage Digital as its new custodian. Anchorage will take over from BitGo who have held the position since April. Anchorage will now look after cryptocurrency seized or forfeited in various criminal cases before it is auctioned off once the case is settled.

Anchorage Takes Over From BitGo

The Asset Forfeiture Division of the USMS takes possession of financial incentives for crime operations, which often also include art, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, and cash. In recent years of course, cryptocurrencies have become seized on more frequent occasions which, along with their increase in value, led to the USMS spending a year looking for a custodian of seized cryptocurrency. BitGo was handed the contract in April, but this has now moved to Anchorage, who in March were announced as custodians of the USDC being trialed by Visa for crypto payments.

Like BitGo, Anchorage will provide custody and liquidation services for the cryptocurrencies seized by the USMS, which could include accounting, managing blockchain forks, and transforming token assets into coin assets, as well as future actions associated with the USMS crypto forfeiture process.

USMS Seizures End in Auctions

The USMS has been auctioning off cryptocurrency for years, with the most famous auction coming in 2014 when venture capitalist Tim Draper picked up 29,657 seized Silk Road for $19 million, a pile worth $1.18 billion today. The USMS most recently auctioned off 4,040 in early 2020 but it set to auction off some 69,370 seized from the wallet of Shaun Bridges, a Secret Service agent convicted of stealing bitcoin from the Silk Road site he was supposed to be investigating.