One of the reasons why those that partake in illegal activities prefer using bitcoin is because it makes it harder for authorities to detect. This is because regular money is issued by governments. They are also placed in banks which have systems to detect suspicious or illegal activity, so bitcoin is usually the best way to go about doing business.
That was what a trio of drug dealers in Sweden were doing, although in 2019, they were eventually caught and sentenced to jail. As a result, Swedish authorities seized 36 bitcoin that the drug dealers had made from their sales, but instead of logging the bitcoin as bitcoin, the prosecutor converted it into kronor. At that time, one bitcoin was worth around 40,000 kronor ($4,600), which meant that the total amount was valued at 1.3 million kronor ($149,000).
The authorities then tried to auction off the bitcoin, but because it had taken them about two years to go to that point, the value of bitcoin rose to where one bitcoin was now worth around half a million kronor ($50,000). This meant that the authorities now owed these convicted drug dealers around $1.5 million in unsold funds, which is no doubt quite an embarrassing situation for them to be in.
Swedish authorities have since admitted that this was apparently the first time that prosecutors had secured proceeds of a crime in cryptocurrency, so there wasn’t any proper guidance on how to approach it. However, we imagine that this is an expensive lesson that they will be applying to future cases.