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Police unable to confiscate $60 million of Bitcoin


German authorities face a difficult problem after confiscating a digital wallet of a convicted fraudster containing more than 1,700 Bitcoins worth more than 50 million euros ($60 million).

German prosecutors confiscated the currency, but the problem was that they could not access the money because the fraudster refused to provide them with a password.

What's useful about Bitcoin is that many of its advantages are obvious, such as the ability to own it anonymously and move it safely.

The man was sentenced to prison and has served his term since then, and has remained silent all the time as police make repeated failed efforts to break the password to access more than 1,700 bitcoins, a prosecutor in the Bavarian town of Kempten said.

"We asked him, but he didn't say, and he probably doesn't know," Prosecutor Sebastian Murer told Reuters on Friday.

Bitcoin is stored via a program known as the SD Wallet through encryption, and the password is used as a decryption key to unlock the wallet and access the digital currency.

When the password is lost, the user cannot open the wallet.

The fraudster was sentenced to more than two years in prison for secretly installing software on other computers to harness their power to mine or produce Bitcoins.

While the fraudster was serving his prison sentence behind bars, his Bitcoin stock was worth a small fraction of the present value.

The price of Bitcoin rose last year, reaching a record high of $42,000 in January, and traded at $37,577 on Friday, according to coindesk, a cryptocurrency, and blockchain website.

But prosecutors confirmed that the man could not access the money after he got out of prison even if his password was his and he later tried to use it.

According to German news organization BR, if the authorities are able to reach, the digital currencies should be sold with their value going to the state treasury, because the currency was not stolen from anyone, but was mined using the hacking power.

Many issues about passwords, PIN numbers, and their collective absence have recently appeared in stories about Bitcoin.

A recent story in The New York Times about a programmer with a wealth of Bitcoin stowed into a secure disk revealed a staggering statistic, as about 20 percent of the bitcoin sought today (totaling $140 billion) is missing or kept in wallets with missing passwords, which means it is inaccessible.