| Peter Wind

Key highlights:

  • Finlad’s customs office holds 1,981 in seized BTC
  • The majority of the coins (1,666 BTC) were seized in a 2016 bust of dark web drug dealer “Douppikauppa”
  • The customs office wanted to sell the coins in 2018, but those plans eventually fell through

Finland’s customs office is looking to unload 1,981 BTC

Finnish authorities are looking to sell approximately €60 million ($73 million) worth of Bitcoin, the majority of which was seized in 2016 from dark web drug dealer “Douppikauppa”.

Finnish national media outlet Yle reports that Finland’s customs office intends to either sell the seized cryptocurrency in the next few months either directly or by using an intermediary.

The customs office originally made plans to sell the seized Bitcoin in 2018. The plans were eventually scrapped as they feared that the BTC they were going to sell would eventually make its way back to criminals. 

Pekka Pylkkänen, the CFO of the Finnish customs agency, told Yle that the agency considered several options before concluding that selling the seized coins was the best course of action:

“We had the options of handing them over to another government agency or some other party or destroying them. We came to the conclusion that alternatives other than sales are not realistic.”

Choosing not to make the sale in 2018 coincidentally turned out to be a great decision, as it was a year when Bitcoin was going through an intense bear market. Now, however, Bitcoin is riding all-time highs, and is trading above $40,000 apiece. The money from the sale of the seized BTC will be transfered to Finland’s Ministry of Finance.

There have been plenty of cases where government authorities seized large quantities of Bitcoin – cryptocurrency emerged as a popular way of payment on illicit markets operating on the dark web. A few months ago, we covered the seizure of around $1 billion worth of Bitcoin by U.S. authorities. The BTC in question was allegedly stolen from the notorious dark web marketplace Silk Road by a hacker.

Authorities will often sell seized cryptocurrency through auctions. Venture capitalist Tim Draper famously bought 30,000 BTC at one such auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014.

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