In a recent online auction, a large amount of cryptocurrency that was seized by Belgian law enforcement has now been sold off to buyers around the world.
The seized funds reportedly belonged to drug dealers who were selling merchandise over the dark web and distributing it to several countries.
Wilsons Auctions, the company that won the contract to auction the assets last month, sold off 315 Bitcoins to buyers from 110 countries. The 24-hour auction raised more than 550,000 pounds.
Belgian authorities had previously, in 2017, dealt with a similar case involving around 1,050 Bitcoin from several vendors selling drugs in the dark web.
Since that time, the government has had to implement laws that would stipulate appropriate procedure for liquidating seized crypto assets.
The implemented laws work similar to policies in traditional financial industries and are credited for the role of Wilsons Auctions’ sale.
Wilsons Auctions successfully raises £550,000 as first private auction company to sell seized crypto currency & luxury assets. Click here for full details > https://t.co/PL9jjrWcDf #auction #wilsonsauctions #cryptocurrency #bitcoin pic.twitter.com/wR6kgPwwUE
— Wilsons Auctions (@wilsonsauctions) March 1, 2019
Auctioning Seized Crypto Could Be More Common in the Future
Wilsons Auctions is set to gain immensely from the contract awarded to them by Belgium last month.
The company’s head of asset recovery, Adrian Larkin, said that the huge investment into the firm’s infrastructure and systems presented them with the opportunity to not only provide solutions to Belgium but also other countries worldwide.
The contract will increase Wilsons’ crypto capacity in a manner that reduces the risks associated with the unregulated virtual currency.
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Larkin boasted of auctioned criminal assets amounting to at least 100 million pounds within the past five years.
More countries may utilize the services of Wilsons with the ever-increasing quagmire of seized crypto.
Apart from the European countries of Belgium, Ireland and the U.K., Larkin anticipates that the auctioning company will set foot in other countries like Malaysia, Malta and Nigeria.
Because such auctions avail a legal and controlled channel for authorities to liquidate cryptocurrencies in the market, it will be possible to regulate crypto trade.
Looking to the future, regulations of virtual currencies will legitimize them as valid payment options.
The Commitment from the Belgian Government
Belgian authorities are committed to dealing with fraudulent and illegal activities linked to cryptocurrency.
Towards the end of last year, the country’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) released a list of websites that it suspected of crypto fraud.
However, despite the numerous warnings by the body to citizens, the amount of fraud activity is still on the rise.
FSMA has consequently released alerts urging individuals to forward information regarding crypto entities that are illegitimately operating in the country.
Reportedly, also, Belgian tax authorities targeted individuals who were investing in virtual currencies.
Accordingly, anyone who wishes to trade using crypto has to pay a tax of 33 percent on profits and document the gains as miscellaneous income while filing tax returns.
Crypto Regulation by the EU
At the same time, the European Union is also attempting to build reliable legislation to regulate the digital assets industry.
Steven Maijoor, the chairperson for the European Securities and Markets Authority, recently postulated similar sentiments.
Maijoor, while delivering his speech at last month’s FinTech Conference in Brussels, said that situations where crypto assets do not qualify as financial instruments make users vulnerable to substantial risks.
He further stated he supported the expansion of anti-money laundering laws to incorporate the trade of one digital asset for another and not merely the exchange of digital currency to fiat money.
Such efforts are good news for governments who will be able to liquidate virtual assets as well as the public who will identify lucrative opportunities of trading crypto.
Other nations may follow suit. Countries like the United States are already finding it difficult because the individual states do not seem to agree on whether cryptocurrency firms should access money transmission licenses.
The federal government, notwithstanding the tussle by the individual states, allows for trade in virtual assets provided the transactions are not fraudulent.
Because they possess attached dividends and profits, crypto assets should emulate traditional financial instruments.
The presence of European regulators will be a big step towards fostering efforts from individual countries like Belgium.
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