Finland‘s customs agency, Tulli, is struggling to sell 1,666 bitcoins seized back in 2016.
Tulli confiscated these BTCs following the failure of a website in September 2016, when bitcoin was worth about $570.
In total, those 1,666 BTC were worth about $950,000 at the time, but the agency was unable to sell them.
The problem seems to be related to the fear that a sale like this could attract the kind of attention they don’t want, perhaps even jeopardizing the agency’s own safety.
As a matter of fact, in 2018, the Finnish government itself expressly prohibited customs officials from selling seized BTC on exchanges or trading platforms and instead ordered the agency to store all digital assets on cold wallets.
Meanwhile, however, those 1,666 BTC have increased in value, and today they are worth about 15 million dollars.
The curious thing is that in the US, this kind of auction is held relatively often, apparently without any particular problems.
Admittedly, selling bitcoin now, instead of holding it, can mean generating much lower revenues than they could generate by selling them at a time when their value is particularly high, but apparently, this is not the goal of the Finnish government.
In fact, the director of Tulli, Pekka Pylkkanen, said:
“From our point of view, the problems are specifically related to the risk of money laundering. The buyers of [cryptocurrency] rarely use them for normal endeavors”.
These statements suggest that the Finnish agency, and perhaps the government as well, do not have a particularly thorough knowledge of these new assets, since for example, according to a recent study by the blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, only 0.5% of all crypto transactions are linked to illegal activities.
It is therefore not surprising that Finland itself, and not other countries such as the United States, are having problems disposing of these very liquid assets, which are highly valued by the market.
At the very least, this reluctance on their part could ultimately maximise profits, especially if they change their minds in the event that the price of bitcoin reaches new highs.