Since the Bulgarian Government began their crackdown on Cryptocurrency usage for ransomware attacks back in May of this year they have seized well over 200,000 bitcoins, which equates to around $3 billion at todays rates, which is roughly 20% of the Countries total debt!
According to a press release 213,519 Bitcoins were seized from criminals using cryptocurrency to hide funds raised from criminal activities:
The Bulgarian authorities have searched more than 100 addresses, suspects and vehicles. A large quantity of money was seized, as well as equipment, devices for communication, computers, tablets, bank documents, etc. 23 suspects were arrested, 5 of them acting as Bulgarian Customs officers.
As result of this criminal activity the damages recorded by the Customs Agency, only for year 2015, is around 10 million Leva. As well, up to now were found in the virtual space bitcoin wallets of the main suspects with a total value of 213,519 bitcoins. As a reference, the value of one bitcoin is rating to 2354 USD. The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed.
But, since then the Bulgarian authorities have gone on to outlaw Cryptocurrencies altogether, though the actions being taken by authorities actually have no legal basis. Finance Magnates reports:
Bulgarian banks have banned bank access to the websites and are preventing them from transferring funds to foreign exchanges. The ban has been enacted by banks unilaterally with no explanation given by authorities nor the financial institutions.
First Investment Bank is cited as the one that acted on blocking the accounts of several local exchanges, including crypto.bg, cryptobank.bg and cix.bg.
The Bulgarian Governments website has no mention of any new policy on Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency and the current actions of freezing exchanges and bank funding to all crypto related websites has not been addressed.