HMRC makes first NFT seizure

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has reportedly made its first seizure of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger - or a blockchain - that certifies the uniqueness of a digital asset.

The tax authority arrested three people as part of an investigation into a £1.4 million tax evasion fraud, according to sources reported by the BBC.

The sources said the VAT fraud involved 250 fake companies, and that the HRMC obtained a court order to seize £5,000 worth of digital assets.

The HMRC told the BBC the criminals used methods including false and stolen identities, false addresses, pre-paid unregistered mobile phones, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and false invoices to help hide their personal identities.

Nick Sharp, deputy director economic crime at the HMRC, said the seizure "serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto assets to hide money from HMRC".

The news comes as the UK continues to rate highly as a global money laundering hotspot.

New research from Credas released earlier this month found that an estimated £88 billion is laundered every year in the UK.

The size of the NFT market has boomed over the past year. Sales of NFTs hit $24.9 billion in 2021, according to data from market tracker Dapp Radar.

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