The new law would also require crypto exchanges to release information that could help police with criminal investigations.
Victoria Police in Australia will soon be given new powers to seize cryptocurrencies and digital assets from criminals and force platforms to release information on suspects.

New legislation was introduced in Parliament as part of the Serious Crime and Public Safety Act 2022 Amendment Act to tackle organized crime in the state, according to a statement released on Tuesday by Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.

The new bill is expected to give authorities “greater ability” to identify and seize digital assets in response to organized crime’s growing use of cryptocurrency.

The laws will also require crypto exchanges to disclose information to assist criminal investigations in the same way banks do:

“They will be able to force cryptocurrency platforms to submit information about suspects, as banks are currently required to do, and confiscate digital wallets.
It will also give police more powers to search for electronic data when executing search warrants and make the criminal’s “confiscated property” more available to compensate crime victims.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Michael Bachina, a digital asset specialist at Piper Alderman, said that while the text of the bill has yet to be released, one of the challenges is legislating digital assets as they cross state and federal borders exceed. :

“The problem with digital asset laws is that state jurisdiction often ends at the border, so ensuring consistency between states and countries is paramount.”
Bacina also noted that police need “adequate training in the technology for capturing and protecting the private keys of digital wallets.” He also stated that criminals of digital assets “represent a valuable tool for law enforcement in the fight against crime, as transactions leave an immutable trail of evidence on a public ledger that is extremely difficult to alter in hindsight.”

Victorian Police Minister Anthony Carbines acknowledged that criminals are evolving their strategies, noting that “we need to empower our police just as quickly to respond to new ways of committing crime”.

Related: 74% of Government Agencies Feel Underprepared for Crypto Investigations: Report

Earlier this year, popular crypto monitoring tool Chainalysis estimated that by early 2022, at least $10 billion worth of crypto would be stored in wallet addresses linked to illicit activity.

However, Bachina explained that the analytics firm also reports that illicit usage in the crypto-asset ecosystem is at the lowest levels, “so further reducing illicit digital asset usage can only build trust in the digital asset and cryptocurrency ecosystem “.

Source: CoinTelegraph