British Columbia Claims $1.4 million in Bitcoin From Marijuana Dealer
Cryptocurrency Claim Gives Legitimacy to Industry
The Government claimed that the mail-order marijuana dealer was a vendor on the notorious Silk Road website. According to The Star Vancouver, a local Canadian news site, the Government’s allegations have not been officially proven in court. They were, however, presented in a lawsuit filed by the British Columbia’s director of Civil Forfeiture.
The Civil Forfeiture Office mentioned that the marijuana dealer’s online identity could be easily found through his pseudonym MarijuanaIsMyMuse. The user was a popular and well-known name on the dark web and Silk Road.
According to the court filings, the man denied selling drugs on the Silk Road and denied the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin for any illegal, criminal, or unlawful activity.
The Civil Forfeiture was an office created in 2006 with the intent of going after any proceeds related to criminal or unlawful activity. The organization’s decision to lay claim to cryptocurrencies is a step forward for the cryptocurrency industry as it provides greater legitimacy to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and their role as a digital asset.
Seizures of Bitcoin More Common as Criminals Turn to Cryptocurrencies
As criminals flock to cryptocurrencies, The Star Vancouver believes that seizures and claims on cryptocurrencies will become more common over time. Although many governments have difficulty classifying cryptocurrencies are, the digital assets are however recognized as a forfeitable asset during criminal prosecutions in many countries.
While countries like Canada, United States of America, Australia, Germany, and Belgium have previously confiscated bitcoin in 2017 and earlier, an interesting example of a government taking the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies more seriously in 2018 is South Korea.
According to Yonhap News, in May 2018, a South Korean lower court stated that the accused’s cyber assets could not be seized as they do not have a physical form and only exist electronically. The South Korean Supreme Court, however, overruled the decision and mentioned that cryptocurrencies, are “profit earned from trade in goods” and are therefore considered a forfeitable asset.
BTCManager also reported that the U.S. government has most likely seized over $1 billion in cryptocurrencies which has been passed onto the U.S. Marshals Service which is responsible for selling these cryptocurrencies seized during an investigation.
Governments are therefore seeing the value in electronic and digital assets and have even sold them off in an auction. In January 2018, the U.S. Government auctioned off over 3,800 bitcoin. They’ve previously held many auctions of cryptocurrencies seized from dark online marketplaces like the Silk Road and have auctioned off more than 144,000 of the pioneer digital currency.