When Bitcoin is seized from drug dealers on Darknet markets, where do they go to? That’s a question the Belgian government has given a response to with its approval of the auctioning of criminal assets. On February 28, Wilsons Auctions, a Mallusk-based Auctioneer sold off 315 Bitcoin that was seized from Darknet vendors. Potential buyers were also gotten from 110 countries, according to a media outlet’s report on March 2.
Wilson Auctions 315 Bitcoins Seized from Drug Dealers
Per the report, Wilsons won the contract to auction 315 Bitcoin which were seized from drug traders on Darknets. Specifically, these were bitcoin gold, bitcoin cash, and bitcoin core, each amounting to 104.99. The amounts that were sold at each instance were around 0.5 BTC to 4 BTC, and a larger number of BCH and BTG coins were offered.
Further reports reveal that the government had also allowed the Auctioneer to expand the virtual currencies it offers. The latter was in a bid to prevent the risks associated with trading on cryptocurrency exchanges that were not regulated. Likewise, the event had garnered interest from users from 110 countries and the amount was raised through the 24-hour sale online, was £300,000 (~$420,000).
Auctioned Bitcoins Seized From Two Brothers
The sold Bitcoins, on the other hand, were confiscated from two brothers in the Belgian city of Antwerp who had been trading drugs on a darknet. The latter is known to be a marketplace where goods ranging from legal and illegal items are sold. It has the characteristics of providing anonymity and the promise to find just about anything which has attracted its userbase.
Asides retrieving funds from the duo, the Belgian police in 2017 had also seized 1,050 Bitcoin from other drug dealers. Before these assets were liquidated to cash, the government had to set up policies that will govern their conversion to fiat. The laws also gave rise to the auctioning of the seized goods by Wilsons.
Aidan Larkin, head of the asset recovery at Wilsons said:
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.
Darknet, a Harbour for Illegal Activities
BTCNN on February 25 outlined some goods that are being traded on Darknet for cryptocurrencies. Vendors on a number of these platforms accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, and other virtual assets. Some of these goods range from Power Lasers, Gold bars, to Ebooks.
On February 15, it was also revealed that a trader was publicizing the sale of 620 million stolen usernames and passwords which were hacked from several platforms. Generally, anonymity and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies have encouraged their use to facilitate crime. The latter has been one of the reasons institutions are reluctant to enter the crypto market.