Bitcoin: German judiciary owns millions in crypto currencies – digital


A fortune in Bitcoin is stored in German public prosecutor’s offices, waiting to be exchanged for money. In total, more than 90 million euros in Bitcoin and other currencies are still waiting to be used; they had been seized from criminals. Around 50 million euros have already been earned from the sale of virtual currencies. That is evident from answers that Southgerman newspaper and WDR from the public prosecutor’s offices in the federal states with a focus on cybercrime and the central recovery offices of the federal states.

Not all federal states have specialized cyber authorities, but in most cases there is at least one public prosecutor for Internet crimes. The data are therefore not necessarily complete, but provide a good overview of the assets and the different ways in which countries are dealing with the issue.

The largest amounts come from a few cases. In Bavaria in 2018, for example, the Bamberg State Justice Fund auctioned Bitcoin worth around twelve million euros, which had been seized from the operators of the illegal platforms “Hansa Market” and “”. The judgment is not yet final, the defendants are currently being negotiated in Hesse. There is also the currently largest treasure that has not yet been used. 2200 Bitcoin, the vast majority of which comes from the operators of the Darknet marketplace “Wall Street Market”. A Bitcoin is currently worth around 42,600 euros.

Not all countries have set up the necessary central offices

Paragraph 77a of the Penal Enforcement Code has been in force since 2017, according to which the federal states should set up central offices for the sale of virtual currencies. Four years later, however, that apparently did not happen everywhere. Especially in small federal states, where Bitcoin seizures are rare, the issue is not pursued with vigor. But also some populous territorial countries are taking their time. Most of the central offices use the German-based trading platform for sales, while the provider was used in Thuringia. North Rhine-Westphalia apparently wants to take a separate path. They are currently building their own trading platform there, which will be used to auction off future virtual currencies.

The procedure of the countries with regard to the time of the sale of Bitcoin is also not uniform. In most federal states, confiscated currencies are sold as soon as possible by emergency sale, for example in Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein. In this way, prosecutors can also proceed with seized stocks and perishable goods that are threatened with depreciation. Other public prosecutors – for example in Hesse – are waiting for judgments against the accused to become final. This can backfire, especially with less well-known cryptocurrencies, there is a risk of total loss of value in multi-year procedures.

Here and there the course rises to unimagined heights.

But it can also turn out well for the treasury. In Berlin, the public prosecutor’s office has been sitting on a small mountain of Bitcoin since October 2020, at the time of the seizure they were worth around 700,000 euros. The public prosecutor would actually like to sell the digital coins – but the authority has not yet set up a sales account for them. At the moment it looks like this inaction won’t hurt, because the price has quadrupled since October. Today the Bitcoin would be worth three million euros.

A very special case has been with the Kempten public prosecutor for some time. The Bitcoin seized there in 2013 in proceedings against an operator of a so-called botnet would currently be worth around 90 million euros. But the public prosecutor’s office lacks the password for the virtual safe. The perpetrator, who has now been released from prison, did not reveal it to the investigators.

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