Drug-deal bitcoins lead to $940,000 gain for Berlin prosecutors

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Crime may not always pay for criminals, but fighting it does sometimes.

Berlin prosecutors are about to make 774,000 euros ($940,000) on 64 bitcoins they seized in a drug deal in April of last year.

When they froze the funds last year, bitcoins changed hands for $1,348 a piece, according to a composite of prices compiled by Bloomberg. On Friday, they were worth 10 times as much, trading at $13,755. The prosecutors estimate their value at 850,000 euros, spokesman Martin Steltner said.

Bitcoin’s privacy features make it hard to trace coins and transactions to actual users, a feature that gave the cryptocurrency an early reputation as a tool for selling drugs and laundering money. U.S. federal agents found bitcoins worth millions of dollars when they closed down the Silk Road bitcoin exchange in 2013.

The Berlin stash stems from a probe into a drug trafficking via the darknet, involving pot, cocaine and a synthetic drug. One of the three men charged in the case agreed to give up the 64 bitcoins, which the government will convert into euros, Steltner said.

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