According to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), three persons have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to defraud HMRC for £1.4 million. The authority claimed it was the first law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom to seize an NFT.
The HMRC claims that the three suspects utilized advanced tactics to conceal their identity, including stolen identities, VPNs, fraudulent invoices, and addresses.
The first seizure of a Non-Fungible Token “serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto assets to hide money from HMRC,” said Nick Sharp, deputy director of economic crime. He further stated,
“We constantly adapt to new technology to ensure we keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets.”
HMRC said it has obtained a court order to keep the confiscated crypto assets, estimated at around £5,000, and three digital artwork non-fungibles, in custody while its investigation continues.
NFT’s to see more regulation?
The probe is still underway, and it’s possible that it will lead to other inquiries into the NFT market. This is the first time a government department has taken such a step in the NFT space. Cryptocurrencies have been seized on several occasions, but it now appears that the NFT market, too, is on authorities’ radar.
The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the sole regulator to have outlawed NFTs, as well as meme coins. However, with increased regulation in the general crypto-asset class predicted this year, non-fungibles may face additional limits.
However, it’s unlikely that this will deter both investors and businesses. The latter is particularly interested in using NFTs to engage audiences, with the growth of the metaverse serving as an excellent example.