Finland officials confounded over confiscated crypto

Finland has a problem many people wish they had. Finnish authorities are sitting on millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and they don’t know what to do with it. The currency was seized from criminals years ago, and the government is debating over the best way to liquidate the proceeds. So far, it can’t figure out the best way to do it.

According to local media, the Finnish Customs Service has 1,666 BTC that it confiscated from drug dealers several years ago. It doesn’t specify when the seizure(s) may have occurred, but says that the confiscated amount was worth around $760,000 at the time. Today, that amount would be worth around $15 million. While other countries find ways to liquidate seized crypto, the Customs Service isn’t sure it wants to, but it’s logic for hesitating leaves a lot to be desired.

According to the government agency, liquidating the assets would put them back onto the crypto market, where they could once again find their way into the hands of criminals. The repeated excuse that crypto is bad because it facilitates criminal activity has already been shown to be lacking in any substantial foundation by several studies and, if that were a legitimate reason for not liquidating assets, the government would never liquidate any type of assets – real estate, vehicles or more – because they, too, could end up in the hands of criminals.

The solution is simple. For the crypto assets to be calculated, they have to be held in wallets. For the assets to be sold, they have to be exchanged from one wallet to another. Therefore, record the transactions, record the wallet addresses and order the recipients to register any future exchanges or sales with financial authorities or face legal repercussions.

In other parts of the world, government agencies are more than willing to sell confiscated digital currency. The US Marshal’s Office has created an almost regular practice out of it and has regularly held auctions to convert digital currency to fiat. However, it may wish it had not been so anxious. If it had held onto all the crypto it has seized, it could have potentially gained as much as $1.7 billion through value increases.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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