Finland's government released new guidelines today that set out how law enforcement officials must handle cryptocurrencies they confiscate.
The official agencies in charge of storing the cryptocurrencies will now be prohibited from storing them on exchanges, and must instead keep them offline and inaccessible from the internet, a Bloomberg report states, citing official Treasury documents.
The ruling effectively means the agencies involved will need to identify some form of cold storage solution, in which they would maintain a wallet that does not have an active Web connection. Bloomberg said the Helsinki customs office would not indicate how it has been storing the cryptocurrencies until now.
The news source states that Finland's authorities currently hold around 2,000 BTC that have been confiscated in raids since 2016, as per data from the customs office. At today's prices, the 2,000 BTC is worth around $23 million, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index.
As reported by CoinDesk, in 2016, customs agents in Finland seized bitcoin and other items worth about €1 million at the time, in connection with the operation of an online dark market called Valhalla.
The new guidelines go on to indicate that authorities must also treat cryptocurrencies as assets, rather than as currencies.
Once a court has ruled that the funds will not be returned to the owner, Bloomberg says, they may be exchanged for euros. The document recommends sales should take place through public auctions, rather than on cryptocurrency exchanges, for security reasons.
Other governments have faced the quandary of what to do with cryptocurrencies they confiscate - and as seen in the U.S., the solution is often simply to auction them off publicly.
While it's not clear how they must store cryptocurrencies, U.S. authorities have held a number of auctions for seized bitcoins in recent years.
Most notable, perhaps, were the sales of cryptocurrency holdings seized from the now-defunct dark market Silk Road. One such sale held in mid-2014 offered 29,656 BTC (won by investor Tim Draper), and a later auction of 44,341 BTC took place in October 2015.
Combined, those 73,997 bitcoin would be worth $853 million at today's prices.
Bitcoin and handcuffs image via Shutterstock
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at email@example.com.
A16z Leads Investors in $20 Million Token Presale for Crypto Assets Platform
Asset tokenization platform TrustToken just raised $20 million in a strategic token sale with the help of major venture corporations, including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
The startup announced Mon
John McAfee Won't Promote ICOs Anymore Because of 'SEC Threats'
John McAfee, the cybersecurity tycoon-turned-cryptocurrency promoter said Tuesday that he will end his work on initial coin offerings (ICOs).
In a tweet, McAfee cited "SEC threats" when revealing t
Crypto Startup Circle Reveals How It Chooses New Token Listings
Blockchain startup Circle has released new details about how it will select cryptocurrencies for its trading and investment platforms.
On Tuesday, the firm published its Asset Framework, providing
IBM, Mediaocean Partner to Tackle Ad Industry Opacity with Blockchain
IBM iX – Big Blue's digital strategy arm – and ad software provider Mediaocean are teaming up to form a blockchain consortium aimed to solve some of the biggest issues in the advertising world.
Crypto Trading Without License Is 'Illegal,' Cambodian Regulators Say
Authorities in Cambodia have announced that domestic investors are now required to obtain a license in order to purchase, sell or trade cryptocurrencies – activities that would be otherwise regarded a
Internet Cafes Hacked to Mine $800k in Siacoin Cryptocurrency
A group of hackers has allegedly colluded with computer maintenance firms in China to hack into computers owned by internet cafes to mine cryptocurrency.
According to a local news report on Saturda
$7k? Bitcoin Price Looks North After Six-Day High
Despite the bearish chart setup, bitcoin (BTC) rose to a six-day high on Monday, putting a corrective rally to $7,000 back on the map.
The leading cryptocurrency unexpectedly picked up a bid around
Former Indian Lawmaker Declared 'Offender' in Bitcoin Extortion Case
A former Indian legislator who was allegedly involved in a $1.3 million bitcoin extortion case has been declared a "proclaimed offender" by a local court.
According to The Indian Express, a session