Tulli, Finland’s customs service is the latest government agency looking to profit off the recent Bitcoin price spike by auctioning off its stash of seized BTC. Several enforcement agencies have in the past sold off cryptocurrencies recovered as part of investigations into criminal syndicates.
Tulli to Sell Almost 2,000 BTC Seized from Criminals
According to Finnish broadcast house Yle, the country’s customs authority is set to auction off about 1,981 Bitcoin seized during several criminal raids in the last five years. Indeed, 1,666 BTC of the auction sum comes from its 2016 investigation into the notorious Finnish drug kingpin Douppikauppa.
At the time, the confiscated BTC was worth about $850,000. However, with Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in the five years since then, the BTC stash is now worth over $75 million.
Commenting on the planned auction, Tulli chief financial officer Pekka Pylkkänen revealed that the agency plans to liquidate the Bitcoin either by itself or through a recognized brokerage outfit. Pylkkänen also revealed that customs planned to dispose of the Bitcoin back in 2016 but shelved such plans at the time due to fears of the money being diverted into the criminal market.
Tulli’s decision to delay liquidating the Bitcoin funds means the agency could make an 8,700 percent gain from its BTC stash. Pylkkänen says the money realized from the sale will be sent to the country’s finance ministry.
For the Tulli CEO, it is important that customs take advantage of the current Bitcoin bull market to maximize its earnings from the auction. As of press time, BTC has set a new all-time high above $40,000 and is up almost 40% so far in 2021.
Governments Liquidating Seized Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
As previously reported, several government agencies across the world have either previously sold or are sitting on a pile of seized BTC and cryptos from criminal busts. In Feb. 2020, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) announced plans to auction off about $37 million worth of confiscated BTC.
A year before that in Feb. 2019, Irish auctioneer, Wilson Auctions, facilitated the sale of 315 BTC seized by Belgian authorities. The funds were part of a drug bust by the Belgian police.
Indeed, most of the confiscated Bitcoin and cryptos come from investigations into darknet narcotics syndicates. Cryptocurrencies continue to be a popular payment method for illegal drugs and firearms on marketplaces created by darknet vendors.