UK Fights Crypto Crime with New Seize and Destroy Laws

The UK tightens regulations on crypto crime with new laws giving law enforcement authority to seize and freeze digital assets.

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  • The UK has taken aim at crippling money laundering by criminal organizations with new laws.
  • The legislation has allowed authorities to confiscate crucial devices and passwords.
  • A recent drug bust has served as a prime example of the new measures’ effectiveness, with millions seized.

In a significant move to combat the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities, the United Kingdom has enacted new legislation granting law enforcement expanded powers. These changes empower authorities to seize, freeze, and even destroy cryptocurrencies linked to crimes without requiring prior arrests.

New UK Laws Target Money Laundering

This initiative targets the growing trend of organized crime exploiting cryptocurrencies for money laundering. The National Crime Agency reported a staggering rise in illicit crypto transactions, reaching £1.2 billion in 2021 alone. This alarming trend necessitated stricter regulations to curb the misuse of digital currencies.


The newly amended laws empower authorities to seize cryptocurrencies associated with criminal activities directly, bypassing the need for prior arrests. This builds upon a crime bill passed in the previous year, which streamlined asset confiscation procedures.

Home Secretary James Cleverly underscored the importance of these adjustments, highlighting their role in combating emerging threats and preventing criminals from profiting from their illegal activities. The updated legislation extends its reach beyond just cryptocurrencies. 

It also authorizes the confiscation of devices and passwords relevant to criminal investigations. Additionally, it permits the destruction of privacy coins, a type of cryptocurrency known for its high level of anonymity and frequent use in illegal transactions. This aims to permanently remove these assets from circulation and prevent them from re-entering the market.

Drug Bust Shows Power of UK’s New Laws

Recognizing the potential plight of victims in crypto-related crimes, the law also incorporates provisions to assist them in recovering their stolen assets. 


The effectiveness of these new measures has already been demonstrated in a recent joint operation with the United States, which successfully dismantled a major drug trafficking network and seized $150 million worth of cryptocurrency.

This successful operation and other recent prosecutions tied to crypto-enabled crimes serve as a testament to the significance and impact of the new legislation.

Introducing these new powers marks a substantial leap forward in the UK’s approach to regulating cryptocurrencies. The overarching goal is to deter criminal activities involving digital currencies and safeguard the financial system from the associated risks.

On the Flipside

  • Granting law enforcement the power to seize assets without prior arrests raises concerns about due process and potential misuse.
  • The ability to seize devices and passwords raises privacy concerns, with critics arguing it could lead to a broader chilling effect on digital privacy.

Why This Matters

This strengthens the UK’s ability to fight financial crime and sets a precedent for international cooperation and regulation, potentially impacting how criminals utilize these assets and shaping future regulatory landscapes.

With the UK aiming to become a global crypto hub, the country is racing to set crypto regulations. Read about their efforts here:
UK Races to Set Crypto Regulations in Bid for Global Hub Status

In an effort to increase crypto adoption in the UK, Coinbase integrates Apple Pay for crypto purchases. Read more here:
Coinbase Integrates Apple Pay for Crypto Purchases in the UK

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.