Swedish Government to pay $1.5M in Bitcoin to a convicted drug dealer

Key Takeaways

  • A Swedish court has ordered the Government to pay $1.5 million to a convicted drug dealer after confiscating his Bitcoins.
  • The 36 BTC the convict had illegally earned appreciated in value in the past 2 years.
  • The case indicates an inevitable institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies in the long run.

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — A Swedish court ordered the government to pay $1.5 million to a jailed drug dealer in a bizarre turn of events. The price of Bitcoin he acquired through illegal means massively appreciated in 2 years.

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A massive Bitcoin miscalculation by the Swedish prosecutor

Two years back, a Swedish court convicted a man for earning 36 Bitcoins by selling drugs online. Selling drugs is a criminal offense in the country.

Tove Kullberg, his prosecutor at the time, had argued that the accused pay the Bitcoin’s equivalent value in fiat money. Tove had no faith in Bitcoin then.

The prosecutor’s argument satisfied the court. As punishment, it ordered that the man pay 1.3 million Swedish kronor, the value of the 36 BTC then. The value in USD was $100,000.

To recoup the money, the court also ordered the authorities to auction off the 36 Bitcoins. However, by the time the Swedish Enforcement Authority began the auction, the value of Bitcoin had appreciated.

As a result, selling just 3 Bitcoins was enough to raise the $100.000 demanded by the prosecutor. As a result, the government will return the remaining 33 Bitcoins to the convicted criminal amounting to $1.5 million.

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A Bitcoin lesson learned the hard way 

The case serves as a perfect example of how ignorance can cost one dearly. Had the prosecutor’s office had a better understanding of cryptocurrencies, Kullberg would form her argument, keeping market volatility in mind. Due to the general lack of belief in crypto, her miscalculation has cost the government excessive money.

“The lesson to be learned from this is to keep the value in bitcoin, that the profit from the crime should be 36 bitcoin, regardless of what value the bitcoin has at the time,” 

Kullberg said.

One can perhaps forgive Kulberg for the “blunder.” However, this was the first case in Swedish history where the authorities had seized cryptocurrency. If nothing else, it will be a useful lesson for other issues.

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Cryptocurrencies continue to puzzle authorities 

Regulatory bodies across the world are catching up on the lucrative opportunities cryptocurrencies can provide. But, on the one hand, they refrain from recognizing crypto as an asset class, while on the other hand, their seizure of digital assets tells a different story.

Two months ago, the U.S. General Services Administration actioned off 11 types of seized cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecon (LTC). In August 2020, the United States Department of Justice announced that the authorities had confiscated millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from terror outfits.

A similar case came from Japan when a Tokyo District Court issued Japan’s first-ever crypto seizure of $46,000 worth of BTC. 

The seizure was from two men who had knowingly purchased the BTC stolen from the Coincheck exchange in 2018.

Russia also joined the list of countries willing to confiscate cryptocurrencies when the Internal Affairs Ministry announced plans to draft a new law giving the police powers to seize crypto and other virtual assets.

With the law enforcement agencies adopting mechanisms to seize cryptocurrencies, one can deduce that recognizing digital currency as an asset class is inevitable.

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