Law enforcement agencies across the world have auctioned thousands of bitcoins seized from criminals over the years.
The North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Justice has started auctioning confiscated bitcoin, according to the official announcement yesterday. The announcement continues a tradition of government agencies auctioning seized bitcoins.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the first batch of the 215 bitcoins that it had accumulated is now on sale via the state’s auction platform. The bidding is expected to end by tomorrow, 27 October.
The ministry pegs the market value of the bitcoins at $64,000 each (54,000 euros), the smaller lots of 0.1 or 0.5 BTC are currently trading above the set benchmark. According to the ministry of justice, most of the bitcoins currently being auctioned were seized during investigations into darknet marketplaces.
The law enforcement agency expects to generate around $13 million after selling the seized bitcoins. The ministry said the funds generated from the auction would go to the treasury of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Police and other law enforcement agencies globally are becoming comfortable auctioning off seized bitcoins. The past few months have seen some US agencies, including the US Marshals, seize and auction off the bitcoins, generating millions of dollars in the process.
The Chinese government had also seized some bitcoins and mining hardware from cryptocurrency miners still operating in the country. Crypto mining is no longer legal in China, and those caught doing it would give up control of their coins and their mining hardware.
Bitcoin reached a new all-time high above $67,000 a week ago. However, the price corrected over the past few days, dropping to the $60k level during the weekend. The leading cryptocurrency has now started to recover and is now trading above the $62k level again. Bitcoin could still resume its rally and aim for the $70k level over the next few days.