Police confiscated several non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the first time in an investigation into the circulation of private data. A spokesperson says it’s mostly about digital artwork.
Earlier this month, a 23-year-old man from Weesp and a 19-year-old man from Hilversum were arrested in the investigation, both at my home. They are suspected of making a large scale circulation of private data (potential customers) that can be used for various frauds, such as bank help desk fraud.
NFTs are unique digital certificates of ownership. These certificates are associated with a digital object such as a photo, artwork, or piece of music. “Because NFTs represent a value, they can be considered the proceeds of criminal offenses, as is usually the case with expensive cars or large sums of cash,” the police explained.
Police do not know exactly what the value of the confiscated NFTs are. “If the judge decides that we can auction it off, it will be clear what it will yield. Now we don’t dare to estimate that because the value fluctuates significantly,” a company spokesperson says.
How do you seize NFTs?
Police do not want to reveal how digital certificates are set. Technology expert Jarno Dursma suspects that the police obtained the personal security code of the suspects’ digital crypto wallets through a court order. Digital crypto wallets are computer programs that store unique access tokens for NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
Another possibility is that the police ordered the platforms on which NFT is traded to confiscate copies owned by the suspects. But Dorsma thinks the chance is lower.
Digital assets are increasingly being seized in criminal fund investigations. Last year, nearly 35 million euros of digital currency was seized, according to figures from the Public Prosecution Service. In 2019 this was still around 1 million euros.
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