Police forces and various government entities, along with private investigations, are all trying to establish the correct protocol and proper procedures for the seizure of cryptocurrency, either at an actual crime scene or later while conducting an investigation. Both financial investigators and longtime police officers investigating these sorts of crimes are hamstrung since the dynamics of these incidents are fluid and rapidly changing.
Investigators work tirelessly with the anti-fraud departments in banks to track the financial breadcrumbs left by the criminals in an attempted order to seize them through money-laundering schemes or by monitoring the purchase of illegal materials.
The technical side of the financial investigators is usually not technical, and this produces a problem for the investigator providing the necessary investigative tools and acumen to solve the case. The fact that most forensic investigators are not digital forensic investigators is a huge shortcoming. A lot of egos can get in the way.
Generally speaking, financial investigators do not understand blockchain cryptography or extracting private keys from wallets, or the ability to carve addresses from computers from phones. Digital forensic investigators have special skills enhancing their abilities to solve a crime but do not always understand fraud or money laundering.
The best way to conduct a thorough investigation is to have both investigators working in conjunction with each other, sharing ideas and their particular expertise. The financial investigator needs to put aside the typical money movement through banks and see the gamut cases. The digital investigator needs to gain a reasonable understanding of working fraud cases.
Many different terms describe the seizure of assets, such as freezing assets, seizing assets, civil forfeiture, or proceeds of crime appropriation or cashing out. The main point here is cryptocurrency is an asset and equals money.