Thursday, June 27, 2013

U.S. government makes its first-ever Bitcoin seizure


The U.S. government may not print Bitcoin, or regulate it, but apparently the feds can still seize it.

Earlier this week, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency reported that it had seized 11.02 bitcoins—roughly $814—from a South Carolina man attempting to buy illegal substances with the world's leading digital currency. It's the first known seizure of Bitcoin by the U.S. government, signaling just how seriously the feds take Bitcoin and the online black markets it fuels.

A report from the DEA notes that the money was netted in April. Little detail is provided about the seizure, which appears on the third-to-the-last page of a 128-page document. Its not even clear what substance the suspect was trying to buy. But for Bitcoin experts, the particulars of this case are less important than the apparent fact that the U.S. government is performing sting operations on Bitcoin sites.

"The DEA appears to have been the first agency to seize actual Bitcoins from an individual with this seizure," wrote Brian Cohen and Adam B. Levine on the blog Let's Talk Bitcoin. "Exactly how the Bitcoin was seized is not known as of this writing."
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