Almost all of the money seized by the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation department in the past fiscal year was in cryptocurrency, the agency announced on Thursday – a strong indication of how widespread it has become in the criminal world.

The unit seized $ 3.5 billion of cryptocurrencies in a non-tax investigation last fiscal year, accounting for 93 percent of the total seizures from October 1, 2020 through September. 30, 2021.

The report marks a sharp turn towards Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for the IRS, where digital money has quickly become the dominant form of payment in criminal cases where the agency seizes funds.

Large cryptocurrency seizures have become the new normal for IRS criminal investigations, said Jarod Koopman, acting executive director of the agency’s cyber and forensic services division.

“It’s a huge, huge number,” he said. “We are certainly seeing a shift in our investigative work.”

While Bitcoin initially had a heyday almost a decade ago when …

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