Day-Long Bitcoin Auction of 315 BTC by Wilsons Auctions Brings Buyers from Over 100 Countries
The relationship between Crypto and the criminal world has been complex, yet undeniable. There are many reasons that would attract such undesirable elements of society to a concept like a blockchain. Now, after a successful raid by the Belgian police, where some drug dealers were busted, a 24-hour online auction was held by Wilsons Auctions on the 28th of February where bidders from across 100 countries participated.
Wilsons is a famous auction house, founded back in 1936, from Ireland and claims to be the largest in the United Kingdom. And the company certainly did a good job, able to sell confiscated coins and raising $420,000 for the Belgian Government. The 315 odd tokens were almost evenly split between bitcoin and its forks, bitcoin cash, and bitcoin gold. According to a local source, these coins were sold in lots ranging from 0.5 BTC to 4 BTC. Along with this, a small amount of BTC was physically sold.
All this comes after a long struggle by the Belgian government and police. In 2017 there were massive sweeps that allowed the cops to round up many drug dealers who were trading illicit substances the world over via the dark web. The haul reportedly yielded an excess of 1000 BTC. However, they faced a major hurdle when trying to liquidate these seized digital assets; namely that there were no or scant laws governing how such transactions would be done. After that was recently sorted out the next logical step was to get the auction houses to do their bit.
Talking about why Wilsons Auctioneers were chosen, Aidan Larkin, head of the asset recovery team at Wilsons, explained:
“Following huge investment into our systems and infrastructure, we are able to offer government and law enforcement agencies worldwide a secure solution to the ever-increasing problem of seized cryptocurrencies.”
Once the nation's laws were clear, it made the auctioneers job that much simplers and negated any associated risks of trading with unregulated digital assets.
In fact, it has been found that such auctions have thus far yielded an amount in excess of 100 million dollars for the British government. He further added,
“Five years ago we had a handful of contracts, we now represent 90% of law enforcement agencies in the UK and Ireland.”
That just seems to be the start as after Belgium nations from emerging markets such as East Europe and the Far East are also interested in hiring the firm's expertise.
As unfortunate as it seems, cryptocurrencies core values of anonymity and decentralization are pretty attractive tenants for criminals. In saying that the larger picture needs to be looked at as well. The vast majority of all illegal activity is done using only fiat money, something that routinely gets banks in many nations into hot waters. At the end of the day, such options are both good news for governments, who can better use the cash, and the community who can find better use of the tokens.