Finnish Customs Puzzled on what to do with 15M Euro Seized in Bitcoin

Finnish Customs Puzzled on what to do with 15M Euro Seized in Bitcoin

The Finnish Customs service is puzzling over what to do with seized 1,666 bitcoins as their value has soared almost 2,000% to over $15 million

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While some governments are selling bitcoins (BTC) confiscated through law enforcement actions, Finland is yet to decide what to do with its seized BTC.

Finnish Customs, operating under the Ministry of Finance, has reportedly been deliberating about what to do with 1,666 bitcoins seized from drug criminals years ago.

As reported by Finland’s national public broadcasting firm on Feb. 25, the Finnish Customs service doesn’t want to auction the confiscated Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency could be returned to the hands of criminals.

Seized bitcoins surge almost 2,000% since confiscation

According to the report, at the time of the seizure the amount of confiscated Bitcoin was worth less than 700,000 euros, or roughly $760,000. As of press time, 1,666 BTC is worth nearly 15 million euros — or more than $15.5 million, according to data from Coin360. The authority was reportedly initially planning to auction the funds back in 2018, but eventually ended up with hodling the crypto, citing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) concerns.

Pekka Pylkkänen, head of finance at the Finnish Customs service, said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are primarily used for illicit practices:

„From our point of view, the problems are specifically related to the risk of money laundering. The buyers of cybercurrency rarely use them for normal endeavours.”

Apart from holding over $15 million in Bitcoin, Finnish Customs also holds a number of seized altcoins worth of millions of euros, the report notes.

Cointelegraph contacted Finnish Customs for additional comments on the issue but did not receive an immediate response. This story will be updated should they respond.

U.S. Marshals allegedly missed out on over $1.7 billion by selling seized Bitcoin too early

Whatever the reason behind Finnish Customs’ decision to hodl the confiscated crypto, the authority is apparently not alone in thinking that Bitcoin and other cryptos might be more dangerous than cash in terms of money laundering. In July 2019, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced an extremely sceptical opinion of Bitcoin, arguing that cash is not laundered in the same way as Bitcoin.

Meanwhile, other countries over the world do not appear so concerned about taking profits from hodling Bitcoin. On Feb. 18, the United States Marshals Service sold another batch of Bitcoin confiscated during its enforcement operations. According to data compiled by well-known crypto industry figure Jameson Lopp, the U.S. Marshals has missed out on over $1.7 billion by selling seized Bitcoin too early. 

The agency has confiscated and sold 185,230 bitcoins, according to Lopp’s data.


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The Finnish Customs service is puzzling over what to do with seized 1,666 bitcoins as their value has soared almost 2,000% to over $15 million

LocalBitcoins Receives Finnish FSA Virtual Currency Provider License

LocalBitcoins Receives Finnish FSA Virtual Currency Provider License

LocalBitcoins gets the official nod from the Finnish Financial Services Authority

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The Finnish Financial Services Authority (FIN-FSA) has officially registered LocalBitcoins as a virtual currency provider, starting at the beginning of November 2019. Finland only allows officially registered providers who fulfill the legal requirements to operate in the country.

A safe pair of hands

In order to receive the registration, LocalBitcoins had to prove to the FIN-FSA that it had implemented suitable Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, along with having adequate safeguarding for customer assets.

Management and key personnel also had to fulfill the criteria to be considered fit to serve in the roles.

Part of a longer evolution

Finland is seen as having a high level of control and trust in the global community, and being an official virtual currency provider opens new business opportunities for LocalBitcoins. CEO, Sebastian Sonntag, explained:

“Finland is a well-functioning society, which holds trust and confidence at high levels. At the same time, the controls in the financial sector are of particularly high quality and the position of the clients is well protected.”

The registration by FIN-FSA is just the latest step on LocalBitcoins path from an unregulated champion of KYC-avoiding Bitcoiners, to being a regulated peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange.

LocalBitcoins has previously been known for its adoption in countries that are undergoing political turmoil such as Venezuela. However, its position as an outlet in which citizens can circumvent capital controls on money would seem to now be increasingly in question. 

Evidence of this can be seen in the trend of users dropping the service for alternative, and perhaps less-regulated providers.


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LocalBitcoins gets the official nod from the Finnish Financial Services Authority

Prasos Secures Payment Institution License From Finnish Watchdog

Prasos Secures Payment Institution License From Finnish Watchdog

Cryptocurrency firm Prasos has received a license from the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, allowing for more widespread service through its Coinmotion platform

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Finland-based cryptocurrency firm Prasos has secured a payment institution license via the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (FFSA). The news comes by way of an official announcement via its crypto exchange website on July 12.

According to the announcement, Prasos is now the third crypto firm in Europe to secure a payment institution license. According to its website, Prasos operates a crypto exchange, a crypto investment platform, and Bitcoin (BTC) ATMs.

Prasos stated that, thanks to its new license, its crypto investment platform Coinmotion is now capable of supporting a payment service in the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

The license will also reportedly allow Coinmotion to cooperate more smoothly with banks and traditional financial institutions, and extend its capabilities pertaining to traditional fiat money.

Prasos Oy’s managing director Heidi Hurskainen said it took around one-and-a-half years to complete the application process; Hurskainen also noted that over this period, crypto legislation within the EU has become more clear.

Looking forward, Prasos is planning to apply — again with the FFSA — for a virtual currency provider license in May, as will apparently be required when new legislation comes into effect that month.

As recently reported by Cointelegraph, two companies in the United States have received notable licensure through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Blockchain startup Blockstack announced on July 10 that it was running the first SEC-approved public token offering under Regulation A+, while the blockchain org Props announced on July 11 that it had received the first SEC-approved consumer-facing token offering, under Reg A+ as well.


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Cryptocurrency firm Prasos has received a license from the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, allowing for more widespread service through its Coinmotion platform

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume to Highest Since November

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume to Highest Since November

LocalBitcoins, a Finnish peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, has seen its trading volume hit a high not seen since November 2018

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Trading volume on Finnish peer-to-peer (P2P) bitcoin (BTC) exchange Localbitcoins hit a high not seen since November 2018, reveals data shown on cryptocurrency analytics website CoinDance.

According to data from CoinDance, LocalBitcoins global weekly bitcoin trading volume hit $65.6 million in the week ending on Sunday, July 7. This is the highest level since November last year when the weekly trading volume of the platform hit $67.7 million in the week ending on Sunday, November 24, 2018.

LocalBitcoins Global Weekly Trading Volume

LocalBitcoins Global Weekly Trading Volume | Courtesy of CoinDance

In some countries, last week represented an all-time high LocalBitcoins volume. For instance, in Argentina, last week the platform’s trading volume hit a new high of over 15.22 million Argentine Pesos (over $364,000). 

Venezuela also saw over 47 billion in Venezuelan Bolivars traded, the highest volume to date. Worth noting, however, is that the volume has actually been decreasing in BTC terms, highlighting the rampant hyperinflation plaguing the country. 

Nevertheless, the rise in volume has not gone unnoticed. Senior market analyst at stock exchange Etoro Mati Greenspan pointed out in a tweet sent earlier today that the current levels are at their highest since November last year and commented:

“Peer to peer bitcoin trading is strong atm.”

Previously, LocalBitcoins lost a portion of its traders after quietly removing in-person cash trading from its service at the beginning of June. The company publicly confirmed the ban on Twitter and stated that the platform had to renounce local cash trading to “adapt to the current regulatory environment.”

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of June, P2P bitcoin trading platform Bisq is seeing record trading volumes after Localbitcoins removed in-person cash payments.


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LocalBitcoins, a Finnish peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, has seen its trading volume hit a high not seen since November 2018