Bulgaria has seized bitcoins worth 3 billion dollars

Dejan Sokolovski
By

in Hack-attack, IT.EU

The Bulgarian police have seized more than 200,000 bitcoins. The authorities have managed to put a significant dent into a crime group whose members operate from several countries, not excluding Macedonia. The value of the impounded bitcoins, at one point, was estimated to be over $3 billion. The lawbreakers were caught in May previous year, at a time when the price of one bitcoin was considerably lower, but the moment the price of the crypto-currency grew exponentially, the news caught the eye of the media and spread like wildfire around the globe.

In their latest report from late November, the Bulgarian authorities did not reveal what they were planning to do with the seized crypto currency. For the time being, the investigation is still pending. Interestingly enough, the Bulgarian blog Bivol.bg reports that the amount could be larger and warns of potential abuse. The reason for this is the division of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. At one point in time, the price of Bitcoin Cash was well over $ 1,500, so the total amount exceeded $4 billion. That is why it is unclear whether it is a foresight or a deliberate mistake on their end. There is an assumption flying around that the Interior Ministry of Bulgaria does not have the private keys, so the bitcoins may very well remain useless.

The exponential growth of the crypto currency can also be reflected in the following example. At the time of the arrest, the price of bitcoin was about $2,500, and the total amount was $500 million. Coindesk takes into consideration the current value of the crypto-currency and estimates that the total amount came to 3 billion dollars. This only comes into play provided that 1 bitcoin is to cost about $15,000, which is the sum that the crypto currency already exceeded (at one point).

33 Bulgarian citizens were arrested. According to the official statement, the organization has members in Macedonia, Greece, Romania and Serbia. The group earned money by compromising customs policies. By hacking computer systems, the criminals managed to avoid tax and customs. Hackers managed to corrupt computer systems so that when a package arrived at customs it was automatically reported as if it had already passed. Everything that the group earned in this way was turned into bitcoin, since the crypto-currency is difficult to track.

This is a trying period for Bulgarian bitcoin enthusiasts. Banks stopped trading in bitcoin and ether. Banks in Bulgaria blocked several accounts linked to crypto-currencies stock exchange, which further complicated their functioning, even if it was only temporary.

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