The US government may be averse to crypto, but it holds a huge stash of Bitcoin worth more than $5 billion, data shows.
The US government has been revealed to be one of the largest Bitcoin whales, holding $5.3 billion worth of BTC.
A Dune Analytics dashboard reveals that the US government has seized “at least” 215K BTC since 2020, making it one of the largest known BTC holders.
The data analysis comes from crypto firm 21.co, who estimated that the eye-popping numbers are a “lower-bound estimation”, based on publicly available information.
High-profile seizures have enriched the government’s BTC wallets
The government’s Bitcoin holdings come from seizing BTC linked to criminal activity.
The biggest seizure was in January 2022, whereby the government seized 95,000 Bitcoin stolen from crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016. The balance was valued at $3.6 billion at the time of the exploit.
A couple from New York City pleaded guilty in August to money laundering conspiracies arising from the hack, which involved the theft of around 120,000 Bitcoin from Bitfinex.
The remaining Bitcoin was linked to Silk Road – an online illicit marketplace that traded exclusively in Bitcoin.
51,326 BTC of the government’s stash was seized from James Zhong – a man who stole 50,000 BTC from Silk Road. The government was given permission to sell 41,490 of the Bitcoins retrieved from Zhong in four batches throughout 2023, a court filing shows.
Authorities found the Bitcoin hidden away in an underground floor safe on a single-board computer that was “submerged under blankets in a popcorn tin stored in a bathroom closet,” the ruling outlined.
The remaining 69,369 BTC came from the 2020 Silk Road seizure, which was valued at over $1 billion dollars at the time.
Despite holding a huge stash of Bitcoin, the US is surprisingly averse to cryptocurrencies, with regulatory bodies such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regularly taking enforcement actions against crypto providers such as Binance and Coinbase.
Throughout 2014-2023, the government offloaded $366.5 million in Bitcoin across 11 auctions, data shows.
The holdings are significantly higher than other governments known to hold Bitcoin.
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