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Is your spouse using Bitcoin to hide assets?

If you and your spouse are a reasonably high-asset Texas couple contemplating divorce, both of you likely are concerned about how the court will divide your assets if you cannot reach a property settlement agreement on your own. Naturally each of you wants to retain the most assets possible, but you may suspect that your spouse is trying to hide assets so as to skew the division in his or her favor. Asset hiding has gone on for decades, but today’s technology makes it easier than ever to do. Are you familiar with Bitcoin?

BlockGeeks.com explains that Bitcoin is a “brand” of cryptocurrency that first appeared in 2008, making it the oldest and most popular on the market. Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies, meaning that you cannot see or touch them because they are only computer files. Nevertheless, you can use them just like you do traditional currencies. You can buy and sell Bitcoins; you can invest in them; you can buy many goods and services with them. Scariest of all – or not, depending on your perspective – you can easily hide them.

Buying Bitcoins

All you need to buy Bitcoins is access to the internet. Once online, you search for Bitcoin exchanges, pick the one you like, and open an account with an email address that may or may not reveal your true identity. Supposedly, all U.S. Bitcoin exchanges also require you to link to your credit or debit card, but many do not and foreign exchanges almost never do.

You also can buy Bitcoins for cash that you get from one of the ever-growing number of Bitcoin ATMs across the nation. Then you deposit the cash in your seller’s account at his or her branch bank and (s)he “deposits” the Bitcoins in your wallet. Not your physical wallet, of course, but your Bitcoin wallet.

Bitcoin wallets

Like Bitcoins themselves, a Bitcoin wallet likewise is a file on a computer, laptop, tablet, thumb drive, external hard drive, Smartphone or whichever electronic device you or your spouse chooses. Even if you have access to your spouse’s devices, however, finding a Bitcoin filename among the thousands of files is worse than looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. It almost invariably requires the services of a specially trained forensic accountant.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand what Bitcoin is and how it works.

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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
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Houston, TX 77056

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