German Police Seize $2.1B Worth of Bitcoin in Piracy Sting

One of the suspects voluntarily transferred the bitcoin to the Federal Criminal Police Office.

AccessTimeIconJan 30, 2024 at 1:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 8:41 p.m. UTC

Police in Germany have provisionally seized 50,000 bitcoin (BTC) worth $2.17 billion, calling the action its largest cryptocurrency seizure ever, according to a police statement.

The claim is related the operation of a piracy website in 2013 that violated the Copyright Act. Proceeds of that venture were then converted to bitcoin. One of the two suspects voluntarily transferred the bitcoin to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the statement said.

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  • An investigation is ongoing into subsequent commercial money laundering, although no official charges have been lodged against the men.

    "A final decision has not yet been made about the utilization of the bitcoins," the police statement added.

    In 2023, the U.S. government seized $216 million worth of bitcoin linked to Silk Road, a dark net market that was taken down in 2013. The U.S. government now holds $9.5 billion worth of bitcoin, according to Arkham data.

    Edited by Stephen Alpher.

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    Oliver Knight

    Oliver Knight is a CoinDesk reporter based between London and Lisbon. He does not own any crypto.