Finland liquidates seized Bitcoin stash amid crypto bust

The bitcoins had been seized in drug busts and forfeited to the state following court rulings. PHOTO: REUTERS

HELSINKI (BLOOMBERG) - Finland has sold its hoard of confiscated bitcoins just as the market for cryptocurrencies is cooling, raising less than previously anticipated.

The Customs liquidated 1,889.1 bitcoins via two brokers during the summer, raising €46.5 million (S$66 million), it said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday (July 21).

The coins had been seized in drug busts and had been legally forfeited to the state following court rulings.

The stake was valued at almost US$130 million (S$181 million) at the height of the crypto boom last year, but Finland made no attempt to time the market with its sale.

The bulk of the virtual currency was confiscated in raids before 2018, and the authorities have taken their time in deciding what to do with it.

The Customs launched a tender in July 2021 for brokers interested in helping turn the digital assets into hard currency, and finally selected two companies in April to carry out the sale.

While the United States government was the first to sell confiscated bitcoins at an auction in 2014, other countries have also increasingly sold cryptocurrencies seized in criminal investigations.

Finnish Customs still holds 90 bitcoins awaiting court ruling of forfeiture, and an undisclosed amount of other cryptocurrencies.

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