This is a first in the history of cryptocurrencies in France. On March 17th the auction house Kapandji Morhange will propose exactly 611 Bitcoins auctioned on the Interenchères auction site. The latter were seized by the French judiciary as part of a major cyber crime operation. The French state could thus get back more than 20 million euros on this occasion.
Property confiscated from AGRASC
In an exchange with our journalist colleagues from Le Figaro, the General Director of AGRASC explains: “A Paris examining magistrate entrusted us with the mandate to sell 610 bitcoins through orders between March and September 2020 as part of a judicial investigation initiated by the Cybercrime Department of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office. Another bitcoin comes from a final seizure of a jurisdiction in the south of France “.
As a reminder, the Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets is a public body under the supervision of the Justice and Budget Ministries.
It is he who manages the property seized by the French state (vehicles, buildings, commodities, boats, etc.) and then is responsible for reselling them to recover funds. It has participated in an auction of seized cryptocurrencies for the first time since it was founded in 2010.
Currently, these 611 Bitcoins could be worth the tidy sum of 25 million euros (reference price: 41,000 euros). That is, the Interenchères website declares in connection with a judicial sale, “The legal costs in addition to the auction are stipulated by law: They amount to 14.28% including taxes.”. The value of every bitcoin sold should be discounted by these minimum auction fees.
In order to increase the excitement for this sale, the auction house decided to split the whole thing into 479 different lots. The first part of the sale will focus on lots between 0.11 and 2 BTC, while the afternoon sale will hand out larger lots with notably two sets of 20 bitcoins (i.e. € 820,000 per month). (Actual hour). You have to register in advance to place an order.
A case that is reminiscent of the Silk Road scandal
If France is the first country, the United States will be used to auctioning off seized bitcoins. The most important one remains in connection with the Silk Road affair, a non-existent marketplace on which thousands of illegal products were offered in the dark net against cryptocurrencies. The alleged founder Ross Ulbricht has now been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The US marshals organized four auctions between 2014 and 2015 to sell more than 144,000 bitcoins related to this seizure. However, the amounts collected at the time seem almost modest today, as the price of the cryptocurrency fluctuated between USD 350 and USD 1,200. At current price, that sale could have raised over $ 7 billion. Wouldn’t it be better for France to keep those 611 bitcoins for a few more years?