US Marshals Seeking Contractor to Manage Confiscated Crypto?

By Warren Hayes | March 13, 2019
US Marshals Seeking Contractor to Manage Confiscated Crypto?

The US Marshals Service (USMS), operating within the Department of Justice (DoJ) as manager of its Asset Forfeiture Program (AFP), could be looking at appointing an agent for the management and disposal of confiscated cryptocurrencies it may accumulate from law enforcement operations, according to official documents released March 5.

USMS explains that the “primary mission of the DOJ AFP is to employ asset forfeiture authority in a way that enhances public safety and security.  This is accomplished by dismantling organized crime and removing financial incentives from criminals through the seizure and forfeiture of assets”. To that end, USMS “scrutinizes hundreds of virtual currency assets each year”.  

Before it might consider raising a Request for Proposal (RFP) from interested contractors, however, it has first issued a Request for Information (RFI) for stakeholders to provide edits or questions “based on current industry standards”.  

In its RFI, its Performance Work Statement (PWS) states that USMS would expect an eventual contractor “to take prudent action in good faith on the USMS’s behalf with the same duty of care while augmenting our capacity and efficiency with regard to the management and disposal of virtual currency”, and at the same time minimizing expense to USMS.

USMS adds that it “expects to improve its current custodial operations through this contract in several ways. Primary among these is to ensure the security and accuracy of all virtual currency transactions”. For this, its contractor is expected to ensure a complete and accurate accounting of USMS virtual currency inventory made available at all times from point of custody through to disposal.  

USMS expects an appointed contractor to provide the “full range of virtual currency management and disposal services. This includes but is not limited to such activities as accounting, customer management, audit compliance, managing blockchain forks, wallet creation, the transformation of token assets into coin assets, etc., as well as future actions associated with the virtual currency forfeiture process”.

For the disposal of confiscated virtual currency, USMS stated that methods which could be considered include direct exchange from virtual currency into USD, exchange into a more liquid virtual currency followed by the sale, exchange to USD and/or sale through a sealed-bid auction, and direct return to owner.

Together with the PWS, USMS also issued a Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan (QASP) that details the quality assurance standards and matrix by which an appointed contractor could be assessed.  

While USMS said that the government “anticipates” posting an RFP subsequently after all RFI submissions are reviewed, it was also quick to say that issuing the RFI is not to be taken as “a promise” that it will issue an RFP in future.

In November last year, USMS held an auction to dispose of about 660 seized Bitcoins (BTC). Auction participants had to register themselves and place a deposit of $200,000 each in order to take part, reported Cointelegraph.

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