UK Police to Auction Off Seized Bitcoin

UK Police to Auction Off Seized Bitcoin

At midday on Wednesday 25th September, Wilsons Auction House will begin a 24 hour online auction to sell an estimated £500,000 worth of cryptocurrency seized by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) of the UK police force.

While Bitcoin (BTC) makes up the bulk of the auction in allocated lots of between 0.25 to 2 BTC, smaller quantities of Zcash (ZEC), Stratis (STRAT), Civic (CVC), OmiseGo (OMG), Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin SV (BSV) will also be for sale.

An additional 15 batches of BTC will be available in an Unreserved Government Auction, scheduled for 6pm the following day, which will be accessible to both online bidders and those present in person.

Track Record

The cryptocurrency sale involves the proceeds obtained during a criminal case pertaining to the illegal supply of online personal data and provision of hacking services.

This year, Wilsons – the largest independent auction house in the UK – have established a track record for Government cryptocurrency sales after previously handling the sale of Monero coins for UK law enforcement in January and a larger haul of BTC claimed by Belgian authorities in February.

These types of government auctions, which traditionally have focused on supercars, luxury watches and designer goods, have proved profitable for Wilsons Asset Recovery Department who, in recent years, have realised sales of over £100 million worth of seized assets for government agencies, law enforcement agencies and insolvency practitioners.

Speaking on the latest auction, Wilsons Auctions’ Asset Recovery Director, Aidan Larkin, said “We are delighted to be marking another first at Wilsons Auctions by carrying out the first auction of bitcoin under the instruction of a UK police force.”

Larkin believes that an established auction house provides a new and secure avenue for investors to obtain cryptocurrency by removing “…the risks that can be associated with trading with unregulated currency exchanges…” 

By utilising Wilsons, the ERSOU have taken a different route to that chosen by the UK’s Surrey Police who, as reported by the Financial Times, last year “…set up its own bitcoin wallet and then used an offshore exchange to transfer and convert…” 295 BTC confiscated by the court from a money laundering case.