German authorities seize record $2.17 billion in Bitcoin from piracy website

German authorities successfully confiscated 50,000 Bitcoin, valued at $2.17 billion, in mid-January from a piracy website, according to a Jan. 30 statement from the Saxony Police.

The seizure is linked to an ongoing investigation into suspected unauthorized commercial exploitation of copyrighted works under the Copyright Act and subsequent commercial money laundering. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the FBI, and an undisclosed IT company from Munich are collaborating in the investigations.

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According to the authorities, two unnamed suspects, including a 40-year-old German and a 37-year-old Polish man, have been identified. One of them voluntarily transferred the flagship digital asset to addresses provided by BKA.

Meanwhile, this marks the most extensive asset seizure by the German police, and the authorities are yet to determine how the seized Bitcoin will be utilized.

Notably, this isn’t the first time German authorities have seized Bitcoin. In 2022, they confiscated approximately €23 million worth of the top digital asset after dismantling the server infrastructure of the illicit darknet marketplace Hydra.

Drawing parallels, the U.S. government has also undertaken significant seizures of the top cryptocurrency. Over 50,000 BTC, valued at $3.6 billion, linked to the defunct darknet marketplace, Silk Road, were seized from James Zhong in recent years.

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The U.S. has also been actively divesting its BTC holdings. On Jan. 25, the government revealed plans to sell $130 million of the cryptocurrency.

Despite this selling activity, data from the Arkham Intelligence platform indicates that the U.S. government still holds more than 216,000 units of BTC, valued at $9.56 billion as of press time.

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Author: Oluwapelumi Adejumo

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