In a landmark operation, German prosecutors have confiscated 50,000 Bitcoin (BTC) worth a whopping $2.17 billion connected to an illegal file-sharing probe, hailing it as the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the country’s history.
A Historic BTC Seizure
A total of 50,000 BTC was reportedly seized by German police.
The Bitcoins were provisionally seized in mid-January as part of a probe into copyright violations, as announced by the Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Saxony State Criminal Police Office.
In the Jan. 30 announcement, the Saxony police revealed it coordinated with tax authorities and prosecutors to seize the BTC, allegedly linked to two men of German and Polish nationality.
The authorities said the culprits bought the 50,000 BTC with the proceeds of pirated materials through websites in 2013. The suspects might face charges, including unauthorized commercial exploitation of copyrighted works and money laundering.
One of the individuals voluntarily transferred the Bitcoin to digital wallets controlled by the Federal Criminal Police Office’s management. However, it’s unclear what law enforcement will do with the crypto. “A final decision has not yet been made about the utilization of the bitcoins,” the police noted on Tuesday.
In 2023, the United States government confiscated over $215 million worth of BTC connected to the darknet marketplace, Silk Road. The U.S. now holds approximately $9.4 billion in Bitcoin. The government’s BTC transfers often spook crypto traders as they fear that intense sell pressures could push down the price of crypto.
Bitcoin gained 1.3% over the past 24 hours as investors look ahead to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement about interest rates on Jan. 31. At press time, the benchmark crypto is trading for $43,574. That’s 10.5% higher than it was a week ago.