The seizure pokes a hole in the long-held belief that cryptocurrency is impossible to trace. Cryptocurrency is computer code that allows people to send and receive funds, recording the transactions on a public ledger known as a blockchain, rather than retaining account holder info. Because of the lack of user data, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been hailed as a safe haven for criminal activity. Fueled by anonymity, the shadowy industry allows hackers, tax evaders and other bad actors to launder money secretively, outside of the traditional banking system.

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