Bulgaria, one of the poorest countries in the European Union with an average monthly salary of some €300 ($350), might have to adapt its budget for 2016 soon as it appears to have found new riches in the form of Bitcoin it had seized from a criminal organization earlier this year.
In May of this year, Bulgarian police arrested a criminal gang and took over their computers, which they had used to participate in the Wanna cry scam, where victims had to pay a certain amount of Bitcoin to have their computer files unlocked.
People worldwide did so, sending about 213,519 Bitcoin to the criminal gang, at that time worth some $500 million.
But due to the meteoric rise of the crypto-currency in the past few days and weeks, those coins are now worth some $3.49 billion.
The authorities also said the gang had in the meantime developed a virus which was used to hack into Bulgarian Customs computers, so allowing them to avoid paying fees for goods they were transporting into the country.
A statement by the authorities said the virus was uploaded to the government systems by bribed agents, which is how the criminals were eventually found and arrested.
Bulgarian authorities admitted the criminals had chosen to use bitcoins for investing or saving money, as they believed it was difficult to be tracked and followed.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin plunged as much as 15% to below $14,500 on profit-taking, which marks the end of a roller-coaster week that saw the currency hit a series of record highs whilst more markets are sending out concerns about its volatility.
The virtual currency, which has no central bank backing and no legal exchange rate, briefly hit a new record of $17,000 before plunging to $14,480 in Asian afternoon trading.