US Marshals Service Seeks Firm to Custody and Sell Crypto Seized From Criminals

The U.S. Marshals Service is on the hunt for a contractor to help it store and auction cryptocurrency it seizes in operations against criminals.

AccessTimeIconJun 9, 2020 at 8:01 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:49 a.m. UTC

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is on the hunt for a contractor to help manage the cryptocurrency it seizes in operations against criminals.

One of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the country, the USMS has updated its request for information it put out on April 24 to a contract relating to virtual currency management and disposal services, as first reported by The Block.

"This includes but is not limited to such activities as accounting, customer management, audit compliance, managing blockchain forks, wallet creation and management, private encryption key generation and safekeeping, backup and recovery of private encryption key material, airdrops, etc., as well as future actions associated with the virtual currency forfeiture process," a description of the contract on the the U.S. government's SAM database reads.

To date the USMS has itself been managing virtual assets it seizes from criminals and on occasion auctioning those assets to the public. This February, 4,040 bitcoins were sold for approximately $37.7 million at the time in what was the first such auction by the agency since the end of 2018.

Now the USMS is seeking additional expertise from external entities to help manage the process from forfeiture to sale.

Of five supporting documents updated as of June 4, the Evaluation Factors for Award (EFA) document determines how prospective contractors would store, custody and dispose of virtual currencies, in accordance with legal proceedings.

"The contract will be awarded to the responsible company whose proposal conforming to the solicitation will be most advantageous to the government, based on the evaluation of Technical Capability, Past Performance, and Price."

In a Performance of Work (PoW) document, it describes the performance objectives and standards expected of the successful contractor.

The USMS is a principal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and is a key component within the Department's Asset Forfeiture Program (AFP). "The main mission of the DOJ AFP is to employ asset forfeiture authority in a way that enhances public safety and security," the PoW document reads.

In 2017, the USMS took custody of about 15,280 units in total of BTC, bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin gold (BTG), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC). In 2018, that number rose significantly to around 152,000 before dropping off again in 2019 to 18,847 units of the five specific crypto assets under USMS custody.


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