Anchorage Digital will custody crypto seized by US Marshals



Crypto custody bank Anchorage Digital will be providing digital asset services for the United States Marshals Service for seized funds related to federal crimes.

In a Wednesday announcement from Anchorage, the digital asset platform said the U.S. Marshals Service, or USMS, “seized some amount of digital assets in recent years” which required a partner in the space to provide certain financial services. Anchorage will be responsible for custodying, liquidating, and other actions as part of the forfeiture process.

Anchorage co-founders Diogo Mónica and Nathan McCauley cited the platform’s “stringent processes and procedures” as likely factors in the USMS decision. 

According to a 2019 proposal, the U.S. Marshals’ office had been seeking a digital asset platform capable of accounting, customer management, audit compliance, managing blockchain forks, wallet creation, and the transformation of token assets into coin assets. The federal agency has seized thousands of Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and other cryptocurrencies, regularly auctioning off the confiscated funds to the public.

Some estimates put the amount of Bitcoin the USMS has seized since 2014 at more than 185,000 BTC — roughly $7.5 billion at the time of publication — which includes funds from the now defunct marketplace Silk Road. However, other government officials may still be responsible for crypto seized from DarkSide hackers following a ransom paid for the attack on the Colonial Pipeline system earlier this year.

Related: A legal asset after all? Governments are cashing in on seized crypto

As the first crypto firm to receive a charter from the U.S. national bank regulator in January, Anchorage has steadily expanded into the crypto market. The company raised $80 million in February and later partnered with Prometheum to launch an alternative crypto trading system.