Australian Police to Sell £8m of Seized Illegal Bitcoins

By James O Malley on at

Though it has many legitimate uses, Bitcoin has become somewhat notorious for its use as a currency for selling blackmarket goods online. If you want to buy drugs online - untraceable Bitcoin appears to be the way to do it.

But this doesn't mean you can't be caught. In 2013 the Australian police seized 24,500 Bitcoin in the state of Victoria, which were owned by an online drug dealer.

Three years on and according to the BBC the Victoria's Asset Confiscation Operations department is now planning to sell 24,500 coins off - with the total being worth around £8m. It is thought that these are those that were seized.

The coins are to be sold off in blocks of 2000 each - equivalent to about £680,000. It isn't clear whether all blocks will be sold at once, or whether they will be regularly sold for some time, as there is a worry that flooding the market with so many Bitcoins could screw with the whole Bitcoin economy. 2000 coins is the equivalent to about half the new Bitcoins mined every week - so the effect of a flood could be that coins would lose value fast.

As the BBC notes, this isn't the first time Bitcoin has been sold in this way - in 2014, the US Marshalls sold off 175,000 Bitcoins that had been confiscated from sellers on the Silk Road, the "darknet" marketplace for buying illegal goods.

Of course, if you can't afford the hefty asking price, then you could always mine some new Bitcoins yourself. Well, if you have a massive server farm to hand, anyway. [BBC]