An Experienced Family Law
Attorney Working For You

Bitcoin: a new way to hide marital assets

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2018 | Same-Sex Couples & Divorce |

At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway in Texas, we know that if you and your spouse are a high-asset couple, you may need extra legal protection to preserve your financial rights during your divorce. This is especially true if you suspect that your spouse is hiding marital assets from you.

Greedy and/or spiteful spouses have attempted to hide marital assets for years. But with the ready availability of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they now have a new and practically anonymous way in which to do it. If you have never heard of Bitcoin, you need to be aware of it and the ease with which your spouse can use cash and other assets to obtain it and then hide it in an electronic “wallet” that no one other than (s)he knows about.

What is Bitcoin?

As explains, Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency available. Invented in 2008 by a mysterious person who went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was the first digital currency. Others soon followed, including the following:

  • Ethereum
  • Ripple
  • Monero
  • Litecoin

Unlike money as we normally think of it, Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are virtual money. You cannot see or touch them. They exist only electronically and are stored in a “wallet,” a file on a computer, thumb drive, external hard drive, smartphone or online in the cloud. Many savvy Bitcoin owners maintain several electronic wallets, one or more of which is overseas. Cryptocurrencies are not backed by a government and their value can and often does fluctuate dramatically, sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis.

The only personal information a buyer need give is an email address. While a U.S. Bitcoin owner theoretically must tie the account to his or her bank account or debit or credit card, it is not difficult to buy and trade Bitcoin for cash. Believe it or not, Bitcoin ATMs exist across the country.

Shady uses

Not surprisingly, asset-hiding spouses love Bitcoin because of its pseudonymous if not completely anonymous features. Drug dealers and other money launders also love Bitcoin, as do cybercriminals such as ransomware demanders and those who operate on the dark net. Bitcoin purchases, sales and trades leave no paper trail, making them extremely difficult to discover and follow.

For more information on this and other protections a divorcing couple may need, please visit this page of our website.