For the first time in its history, UK authorities have seized three NFTs (non-fungible tokens) totalling £1.4 million (€1.67 million at current exchange rates) in the context of a tax fraud case, prepaid this Monday BBC.
HRMC (short for UK Revenue and Customs Authority) also reported that it was the first time it had seized virtual assets of this nature. In addition, three people were arrested on suspicion of fraud.
The suspects employed “sophisticated methods” using false or stolen identities, addresses and other personal data. The BBC quoted UK authorities as saying the detainees were also accused by UK tax authorities of concealing their activities with “false invoices and suspicious private networks”. In total, HRMC estimates that “250 fake companies” were created. So far, no progress has been made as to whether these tokens belong to any set — and if so, which set — or which blockchain network they are based on. In addition to the NFTs in question, HRMC also seized other virtual assets used in blockchain technology worth £5,000 (€5,970). Authorities did not provide further details about the assets.
The ‘hotness’ of NFTs is expected to rise this year
From raucous monkeys to some of the most iconic video clips and “singles” of the second half of the 20th century, the NFT (non-fungible token) market will reach $24.9 billion in sales in 2021. According to data released by DappRadar, a data verification base that tracks more than a dozen platforms around the world, 94.9 million were registered last year.
In total, around 28.6 million wallets have created NFT transactions over the past year, a huge increase from the platform’s 545,000 in 2020.
For this year, the “players” of the market believe that this “fever” will increase. Rarible co-founder and CPO (Chief Product Officer) Alex Salnikov said: “With the proliferation of new single use cases for NFT technology and increased mainstream and institutional adoption through 2022, we can expect more growth and maturity in this market .”, in an interview with the Cryptonews portal.
Josh Katz, founder of the YellowHeart platform, estimates that the next phase of the NFT market will be a “reduction in trading and brokerage commissions.” For the businessman, who was also contacted by Criptonews, “2022 will be a year of structural change in the NFT market.”
Josh Katz believes that video games, especially those related to the metaverse, will be an important springboard for this market. “The game will explode in 2022, and with it will be NFTs that are already heavily traded in this universe,” stressed the founder of YellowHeart.
When it comes to regulating this market, entrepreneurs are clear: It won’t be long before this happens. For Alex Salnikov, “it’s only a matter of time before regulators have enough information about how NFTs work”. Josh Katz, on the other hand, is more accurate: “In two years at most there will be rules to regulate this market”.
Bloomberg’s outlook for this year estimates that 2022 “will be marked by the growth of the crypto market, driven by stablecoins and NFTs.”