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Potentially-Discounted Bitcoin Up for Auction by U.K. Police

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For the first time in the nation’s history, United Kingdom police will auction off approximately $662,000 in criminally-confiscated bitcoin (BTC).

The seized BTC will be auctioned off by Wilsons Auctions — starting Wednesday — on behalf of U.K. authorities. The Ireland-based auction house will reportedly sell all of the bitcoin to the highest bidders and has not set any reserves.

The confiscated coins, themselves, were seized by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) from a criminal who obtained the digital coins while illegally supplying personal data and hacking services.

Two Chances to Buy Discounted Bitcoin

The bitcoin price experienced a sharp pullback on Tuesday, but the U.K. auction could provide a deeper discount for committed holders. | Image: Shutterstock

There will be two auctions, each featuring lots ranging from 0.25 to two bitcoin.

The first will be an online auction, which will run for 24 hours and end Thursday. In addition to the confiscated BTC, other cryptocurrencies — such as Ethereum and Ripple — will be auctioned off.

The second will commence tomorrow and see 15 more lots of bitcoin become available to both online and physical buyers, alongside luxury watches, cars and other items of high value.

Interested buyers may participate in the auction by providing proof of identification and proof of address documents — meaning the auctioned bitcoin will be thoroughly KYC’d.

Auctions are Common Practice for Criminals’ Cryptocurrencies

This is not the first time that seized bitcoin have been auctioned off to the public after being confiscated from criminals.

Wilsons Auctions previously auctioned 305 BTC seized by Belgian authorities to bidders from over 90 countries.

The government of the United States auctioned off more than 2,700 bitcoin in August 2016, some of which were seized from Ross Ulbricht during his prosecution for running from the infamous online black marketplace Silk Road.

In January 2018, U.S. Marshals auctioned off more than 3,600 confiscated bitcoin to only five buyers. Later that year, in November, American authorities auctioned off another 600 bitcoin that had been confiscated and seized from a variety of federal, civil and administrative cases.

Last modified (UTC): September 25, 2019 1:14 PM