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Cryptocurrency - Forensic Accountants as Expert Witnesses

As cryptocurrency adoption has grown, there has been increasing demand from legal professionals for expert witnesses that are qualified to opine on nuances involving cryptocurrency in court.

Yet cryptocurrency is such a new and burgeoning field, which most people, including lawyers and judges, lack an elementary understanding of. Legal professionals have struggled to find qualified experts and often aren’t sure what to look for, in particular, what are the appropriate credentials, experience, expertise and background one should consider if an expert witness with Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, or blockchain expertise is needed.

Forensic accountants are traditionally called upon to investigate and explain financial crimes to courts that involve fiat currencies or traditional financial assets including various types of financial securities. Thus, it would be logical to assume some would reasonably be able to track cryptocurrency as well. However, while many forensic accountants certainly find cryptocurrency interesting, most recognize they lack the expertise to properly trace cryptocurrencies.

Put simply, following cash financial trails with bank statements is a whole different animal relative to following blockchain trails, complete with different rules, methodologies, and tools.

Generally speaking, forensic accountants are capable of both reading and understanding account statements derived from cryptocurrency exchanges but are generally are not qualified to investigate further than what is presented within the statements themselves.

The work of the forensic accountant in investigating cryptocurrency transactions has to be done in conjunction with the requisite experience and expertise. As such, there are no real "qualifications" and those that are out there are often more about carrying out the investigation, rather than an educational qualification in its own right.


If you would like to discuss any case involving cryptocurrency, please contact Shaun Walbridge

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