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Local firm auctions seized cryptocurrency in UK first

By Christine Carrigan

A Northern Ireland company will hold the UK's first seized cryptocurrency auction.

Wilsons Auctions in Newtownabbey has organised the sale of 167.7 monero coins, which have an exchange rate of £6,655.36, via a 24-hour online auction.

It will be the first time investors and 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.

Similar sales have been held across the world by government asset management offices, but never by an independent auction house.

A cryptocurrency is an alternative digital money that operates independently of a central bank and has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Despite cryptocurrency not being regulated, it is not illegal. However, it is regularly cited in the media as being used in illegal activities and the stack that is being auctioned off was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act by a UK law enforcement agency.

The auction will be the first of a series of cryptocurrency sales that will be hosted by Wilsons Auctions in the coming weeks after winning a contract with the Belgium Federal Government's Asset Management Office to facilitate the storage and sale of seized cryptocurrencies.

The contract will see the company offer support to investigators in Belgium that will enable them to securely seize cryptocurrencies, such as monero and bitcoin.

The auction will start at midday on Monday and closes at midday on Tuesday.

Aidan Larkin, head of asset recovery at Wilsons Auctions, said it was currently working with over 40 government and law enforcement agencies nationally and internationally.

He added: "Following huge investment into our systems and infrastructure, we are able to offer government and law enforcement agencies throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally a secure solution so that the ever-increasing problem of seized cryptocurrencies can be managed by an auction company with significant experience dealing with seized assets."

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