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Government plan to seize bitcoin fortunes

The US federal government is clearing the way for the forfeiture of bitcoin on an unprecedented scale and without a conviction of wrong-doing. Australians that hold bitcoin may be subjected to forfeiture orders at the state and federal levels for unexplained wealth or if suspected of wrong-doing.

Sourcing bitcoin discreetly, holding it away form exchanges and securing it with multiple signatures may provide some protection from forfeiture.

The US federal government intends to remove the $500k cap on civil asset forfeitures of bitcoin and digital assets. Under such “administrative” or “non-judicial” forfeiture, the seizing agency decides on what will be seized. A ruling from a judge or a criminal conviction is not required for these.

The Institute for Justice, a nonprofit, public interest law firm, described civil asset forfeiture as “Policing for Profit” in a 2019 article. In it, they described numerous egregious examples of confiscation. In one instance, $53k was taken from the tour manager for a Christian musical act during a traffic stop. The money was proceeds from a concert and donations for refugees and orphans.

Australians are subjected to the confiscation of assets without conviction at the federal level and state level (excluding Tasmania). Ostensibly, these actions are used to oppose money laundering and terrorist financing and are supported by FATF, the Financial Action Task Force.

In this tweet from 2018, bitcoiners are urged to use the security features of hardware wallets to guard against unscrupulous civil asset forfeiture.

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