With financial infidelity on the rise, many people are now hiding their wealth in crypto wallets, away from the prying eyes of their spouses. In one such recent case, a woman in New York discovered that her husband had stored 12 bitcoins worth $500,000 in a previously undisclosed crypto wallet, CNBC reported. The revelation came a few months into her divorce proceedings.
The woman identified as Sarita, became suspicious because her husband, who earned some $3 million a year, wasn’t disclosing many assets in the divorce case. She then enlisted the help of a forensic accountant who tracked down his cryptocurrency investment using analysis of blockchain transactions to trace hidden assets.
”I know of Bitcoin and things like that. I just didn’t know much about it. It was never even a thought in my mind, because it’s not like we were discussing it or making investments together. … It was definitely a shock,” Sarita said.
Divorce attorneys told the outlet it is becoming common for people to hide crypto from their partners. Lamenting the growing trend, they noted that the law is struggling to keep up with digital assets that largely exist outside the reach of centralised intermediaries such as banks.
Attorneys in Florida, Texas, New York, and California told CNBC that crypto now plays a role in roughly 20% to 50% of divorces they handle since it has become a more popular investment in recent years.
”The thing with cryptocurrency is it’s not regulated by any kind of centralized bank, so usually you can’t subpoena somebody and get documents and information related to somebody’s cryptocurrency holdings,” divorce attorney Kelly Burris told CNBC. She added it is easy to hide cryptocurrency assets if one spouse is tech-savvy and the other is not.
According to an NBC News poll, 1 in 5 Americans have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrency, with men between the ages of 18 and 49 accounting for the highest share of all demographic groups.