Wilsons Auction House in the UK will be hosting a cryptocurrency auction for roughly 315 coins. The coins are spread across Bitcoin, Bitcoin Gold, and Bitcoin Cash. A full day long, the auction will begin on February 28. Originally seized by Belgian authorities, the coins were related to a dark web market. They have an estimated value of around 300,000 pounds sterling or close to USD$400,000.
Wilsons was previously the first to auction Monero, about 167 of them, which sold for less than 10,000 pounds.
The company says on its website that the contract attracted significant attention.
“The contract, which had significant interest from other companies across Europe, is the first of its kind awarded to an auction house and will see Wilsons Auctions facilitate the storage and sale of seized crypto assets managed by the Federal Government of Belgium.”
The coins will be split into lots, with a minimum of 0.5 BTC in a single lot. The Bitcoin forks will have larger lots, in terms of coin volume.
“The cryptocurrencies, which have a fluctuating total value of around £300,000, will be split into a number of Lots, appealing to wide global audience, with bitcoin ranging from 0.5 to 4 bitcoins each while bitcoin cash and bitcoin gold Lots will contain a larger number of coins.”
Wilsons Auction house calls itself “a leading advisory service for worldwide law enforcement agencies.”
The Belgian and UK government approach to selling seized cryptocurrencies differs from the US approach. The Justice Department has conducted the auctions itself. The US made under $50 million selling over 140,000 BTC seized from the Silk Road, for instance. The government frequently sells seized property, including cryptocurrencies. Billionaire Tim Draper won one of the auctions of Silk Road coins, setting himself up to be a major holder during the coming price spikes.
Wilsons also claims that it’s better to buy cryptocurrencies this way. According to Aidan Larkin, head of asset recovery at Wilsons:
“This contract allows us to further expand our crypto currency offering and remove the risks that can be associated with trading with unregulated virtual currency exchanges. [W]e are making crypto currency obtainable to everyone, welcoming new buyers as well as experienced investors.”
While there are plenty of regulated exchanges to choose from, it would be difficult to find more than 100 bitcoins at a stable per-token price. The bidding should be interesting to watch. What if there was a price crash during the bidding? Clearly, that’s a risk the bidders must take.
Wilsons expects interest from people all over the world. They regularly facilitate online and in-person auctions in the UK.
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Last modified: June 14, 2020 11:11 AM UTC