According to a report by Bloomberg, Finland is currently trying to figure out how to handle 2,000 seized bitcoins. The government now reportedly issued guidelines on how these should be stored by authorities, and what will happen to them.
The 2,000 BTC are worth roughly $23 million, down from nearly $40 million when the cryptocurrency was at its all-time high. The funds are now going to have to be stored offline, in a device that can’t access the internet, Bloomberg reports citing official Treasury documents.
This essentially means Finnish authorities are going to have to create a cold storage solution, at least until a court rules the coins can be traded for euros. Per Bloomberg, the Helsinki customs office wouldn’t indicate how the bitcoin has been stored until now. Presumably, not in a safe way.
Most of the funds authorities hold, according to reports, have been confiscated in dozens of raids dating back to 2016. These likely came from dark net market Valhalla. Finnish authorities seized €1 million worth of bitcoin from it at the time.
Bitcoins to be treated as an asset
The new guidelines also point out that authorities need to treat Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as assets, and not currencies. This means that cryptocurrencies are an asset that can’t be accepted as a means of payment or as an investment.
The 2,000 BTC can be converted to euros, once a court has ruled that they won’t be returned to the individual or organization they were seized from. The coins will be sold through a public auction, and not through a cryptocurrency exchange for security reasons.
Other governments have also had to deal with the problem Finland is now solving. In the US, where the famous darknet market known as The Silk Road was taken down, authorities decided to simply auction off the coins. One of the sales, held in mid-2014, saw investor Tim Draper buy 29,656 BTC.
Today, those coins are worth over $345 million. While some investors make fortunes buying bitcoin early on after seeing its potential, others argue against it. As covered by Core Media, Warren Buffett’s investment chief recently stated that it’s “disgusting” people buy bitcoin.