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Robert Peters, Managing Director in Duff & Phelps’ Unclaimed Property and Tax Risk Advisory Practice, was featured in a FinOps Report article titled, “Unclaimed Cryptocurrencies: New Legal, Ops Headaches?” discussing how states might soon make a real claim on unclaimed virtual currency accounts, forcing digital asset custodians and exchanges to address murky statutes and potential legal liability. Unclaimed accounts represent a multimillion dollar annual revenue stream for state treasurers and other financial officers who can use the proceeds from their prompt liquidation until the rightful owners or heirs turn up years later.
Robert says that, “States have a good nose to smell just which industry isn’t compliant with their escheat laws and could target the cryptocurrency market. Robert continues that “A state could still lay claim to an unclaimed cryptocurrency account after three to five years if no trading occurs or communication with the investor takes place.” So far, not all state statutes may have kept up with the nuances of the cryptocurrency market, but cryptocurrency custodians and exchanges are clearly bracing themselves to the possibility they are next on state radars. More states could either adopt new rules specific to unclaimed cryptocurrency accounts or creatively enforce existing ones.