Victor Jaramillo Co-Chairs Panel on Cryptocurrency and Enforcement at ABA Annual U.S. and Europe Tax Practice Trends Conference
There are two very different viewpoints of crypto: One is that crypto assets such as bitcoin are used only by drug traffickers, money launderers and tax evaders. People who hold this opinion for example point to the hacking group that in May 2021 extorted USD 4.4m from Colonial Pipeline in a ransomware attack, which led to a shutdown of that company’s American oil pipeline system, which in turn led to widespread fuel shortages at gas stations and airports. The other view is that bitcoin and most other crypto assets use transparent blockchains which contain a treasure chest of information that is immutable and that can be accessed even years later. While a lot of information is already available to somebody simply using a block explorer website, there furthermore exist companies engaged in sophisticated data mining and analysis who offer their services to law enforcement and tax administrations. People who hold this second view for example point to the husband, who paid a hitman (whom he found on a murder- for-hire website) to kill his wife, but was recently arrested by the F.B.I. which used very simple blockchain analysis to track the bitcoins used to the Coinbase exchange. In this panel, we will be discussing what information tax authorities can get hold of and exchange with other tax authorities and how tax authorities can enforce their claims.