British law enforcement agencies have seized over $500 million in crypto over the past month, as a part of a crackdown in money-laundering in the region, according to a number of reports.
“While cash still remains king in the criminal word, as digital platforms develop we’re increasingly seeing organized criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money,” Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, was quoted as saying in a Reuters article.
On Tuesday, U.K. police seized, what has been characterized as a record haul of cryptocurrency £294 million, or $408 million, coming three weeks after law enforcement seized the equivalent of＄157.5 million.
The seizures come amid an increase in global regulatory scrutiny on the crypto complex, including assets like bitcoin
on the Ethereum blockchain.
For its part, the U.K. has been increasing restrictions on crypto platforms like Binance. Reuters reported that two U.K. banks recently blocked British customers from sending money to world’s largest crypto exchange, after U.K. regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, banned Binance from offering certain derivative services to retail customers.
China, meanwhile, has banned crypto mining and has blocked a number of entities from trading crypto on their platforms.
The crackdown has weighed on digital-asset values.
Bitcoin is down 48% over the past three months and Ether is down 17%, according to FactSet data.
Meanwhile, traditional assets are enjoying a much better run over the three-month period. Gold futures
are up 5%.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
is up more than 3.5%, the S&P 500
and Nasdaq Composite Index
have both gained more than 5% over the same period.
The reports on the U.K.’s seizure didn’t specify which type of crypto it took possession of but bitcoin has increasingly been cited in ransomware attacks and other recent cybercrimes.