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Wilsons Auctions holds UK's first seized cryptocurrency auction

Friday 18 January 2019

NAVA Propertymark Protected auctioneers, Wilsons Auctions, kicked off 2019 by launching the UK’s very first seized cryptocurrency auction, with a 24-hour online auction.

Taking place on 7 January, the auction saw 167.7 Monero coins sold, which were seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act by a UK law enforcement agency, in what is thought to be the first auction of its kind to be held by an auction house world-wide.

Considered to be one of the more niche coins on the market at present, Monero is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an unintelligible public ledger - meaning anybody can broadcast or send transactions, but no outside observer can tell the source, amount or destination - to offer fungible, private and decentralised transactions.

This is the first of a series of cryptocurrency auctions that will be hosted by Wilsons Auctions in the coming weeks, having successfully won a contract with the Belgium Federal Government’s Asset Management Office to facilitate the storage and sale of seized cryptocurrencies.

The new contract will see the company offer support to investigators across Belgium that will enable it to securely seize cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, Monero and ripple. This is the first time investors and potential bidders will have the opportunity to take part in a live online auction where they can view the live price of each lot and place bids.

Speaking after the auction, Head of Asset Recovery at Wilsons Auctions, Aidan Larkin said: “We are delighted to report on the success of our first cryptocurrency auction where 167.7 Monero coins were auctioned to the highest bidder via our timed online auction platform. The auction, which was a first for the UK, attracted interest from 69 countries and following over 700 bids from registered participants, the final value realised was above the market value of Monero for that day.

“Customer feedback recognised that this route to buying cryptocurrency through an established auction house via our online platform simplified the process than through an exchange. As a trusted supplier to government agencies across the UK, Ireland and worldwide, we are delighted to be continuing the success of this auction with upcoming Bitcoin auctions.”

Wilsons Auctions are currently working with over 40 government and law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally managing a wide variety of assets, and said that they are thrilled to be expanding into the cryptocurrency market.