After confiscating roughly 2000 bitcoins in drug-related busts, Finland’s government is trying to figure out how to handle these coins.
According to Helsinki’s customs office, most of the coins were confiscated in dozens of raids conducted since 2016. Most notably, one of the largest busts was in June 2016 where government officials seized 1666 bitcoins from the now-defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road
When cryptocurrency peaked on December 18, 2017, the 2000 bitcoins had a total worth of $40 million. However, at the current market value, the coins now are worth ~ $22 million.
New guidelines were recently released by Finland’s government where it sets out the way on how law officials must handle cryptocurrencies they confiscate.
The guidelines reveal that authorities are not allowed to store the coins on virtual currency exchanges. This forces them to use cold storage options, which also prevents them from selling the seized bitcoins on exchanges. So currently, all 2000 coins are off the internet. They, however, have declined to say how they have been storing the coins until now.
The guidelines also state that authorities cannot view Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as currency, but rather as an asset. This means it cannot be used or accepted as a means of payment or investment. Cryptocurrencies that are seized by the Finnish government can only be converted into euros after an appropriate decision has been declared in a court ruling.
The treasury department now plans to sell the coins in a series of auctions to achieve the highest value possible. With current market value, the 2000 bitcoins are worth approximately $22 million. Auctions are preferred for the Finnish government as commercial exchanges can be seen as untrustworthy.
Finland won’t be the first government to auction off bitcoins seized in drug-related busts. Back in 2014 and 2015, the US Marshals Service publicly auctioned off 144,336 bitcoins seized in Silk Road-related busts, netting roughly $48 million.