It’s not unusual, crime agencies and police forces across the world finance some of their activities using seized assets. Wherever you live, you may have come across police auctions or heard about places where stolen goods are sold off. After all if these assets can’t be repatriated with their rightful owners then why not use it to fund police forces.
This of course has been more difficult in respect of digital crime, as often the assets are difficult to find never mind seize especially if the crimes are committed across international borders. However there’s now an unlikely source of funds that seems to be present whenever a digital crime is solved – huge caches of digital currency.
Most cyber criminals are pretty clever at covering their tracks and maintaining a high level of secrecy. This usually involves using rotating and residential proxies to hide their location. In addition, there’s now another common component to keep themselves secure using a crypto currency to process any payments used in their crimes. Although it’s difficult to trace the owners sometimes it’s a simpler option to seize the digital assets when a crime is solved.
The German authorities have just made around $14 million through the sale of Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies which they seized in criminal investigations.
This was simply an emergency sale, according to a Monday report in the Tagesspiegel newspaper, since the Bavarian justice treasury was concerned about the wild changes in cryptocurrency values. Emergency sales are normally generally kept back for perishable goods, such as food, or goods that generally depreciate in valuation, for example cars.
The cryptocurrencies which were sold off– 1,312 Bitcoins, 1,399 Bitcoin Cash tokens, 1,312 Bitcoin Gold tokens and 220 Ether– were generally mostly confiscated in a clampdown on a system called LuL.to, which was unlawfully selling copyrighted ebooks and audiobooks at very low prices. The website was confiscated and blocked out last June, its own operators were arrested and its resources went into a fund that is typically used for police resourcing.
The sale happened over a number of months, in a succession of more than 1,600 transactions on a German cryptocurrency forex platform. According to Der Tagesspiegel, the receipts totalled just over EUR12 million ($ 13.9 million.).
The selloff began in late February, when the rate of one Bitcoin had actually crashed from its December highs– almost $20,000– to around $11,400. Over the course of the sale, the rate dipped below $7,000 and cleared $9,000 once more. Since then, it has fallen once more to a price of $7,230, so the polices’ timing appears pretty good for now, unless Bitcoin makes a surprising rebound in the future.
This was actually a record-breaking transaction of seized possessions within Germany, but American powers have already been generating much more money off confiscated cryptocurrencies for some time. The Justice Department got $48 million in October last year from the sale of Bitcoins which stemmed from Ross “Dread Pirate Roberts” Ulbricht. The sale in fact took place a couple years earlier, when one Bitcoin was actually worth a mere $330 or so, but Ulbricht, the owner of the Silk Road online drug market, had actually disputed the legality of the forfeiture and took a while to drop his claim.
Further Reading: – Using Sneaker Proxies for Profit.