The U.S. Government Has Over $4.4B in Bitcoin It Could Dump Anytime

The U.S. Government Has Over $4.4B in Bitcoin It Could Dump Anytime

Key Takeaways

  • The DOJ introduced right now that it seized 50,676.17 BTC from a Silk Highway exploiter in November 2021.
  • The haul is among the largest in DOJ historical past.
  • The U.S. authorities is at present one of many largest Bitcoin whales, and owns over 214,046 BTC at minimal.

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Over the previous few years, the US authorities has turn into one of many largest Bitcoin whales just by seizing illegally obtained funds. Finally, it’ll in all probability search to liquidate these funds by non-public auctions.

Over 50,000 BTC Seized

The USA authorities owns an unlimited quantity of Bitcoin.

Right now, the Division of Justice (DOJ) announced that it seized slightly over 50,676.17 BTC (value roughly $1 billion at right now’s costs) in November 2021 from a Bitcoin dealer named James Zhong. Zhong obtained the sum by defrauding darknet market Silk Highway by exploiting the platform’s withdrawal mechanism in September 2012; he pleaded responsible to 1 depend of wire fraud final week, on November 4, 2022. 

The DOJ publicized the confiscation as a $3.36 billion haul, which, whereas appropriate on the time of the enforcement motion, fails to bear in mind that Bitcoin is now down 69% from its all-time excessive. Nonetheless, the seizure is notable—it’s the third largest in cryptocurrency historical past by Crypto Briefing’s depend—particularly contemplating the quantity of Bitcoin the U.S. authorities already has underneath its management. 

Over $4.43 Billion in Bitcoin

Along with the 50,676 BTC seized from Zhong, the U.S. authorities has already acquired on the very least 163,370 BTC over the past two years, for a grand complete of 214,046 BTC, or about $4.43 billion, minimal.

In November 2020, the DOJ captured 69,370 BTC (value over $1.4 billion right now) from one other Silk Highway person, publicized as “Particular person X” by the division. On the time, this was the community’s fourth-largest Bitcoin handle; the seizure formally made the U.S. authorities one of many largest Bitcoin whales on the planet.

The company additionally seized over 94,000 BTC from Heather “Razzlekhan” Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein, claiming the couple was conspiring to launder proceeds from the crypto trade Bitfinex’s notorious hack in 2016. The sum, value $3.6 billion on the time, is now value over $1.9 billion. 

Proudly owning 214,046 BTC makes the U.S. authorities a tremendously massive Bitcoin whale. In line with BitInfoCharts, just one BTC pockets—labeled as Binance’s chilly storage pockets—accommodates a bigger sum, 252,597 BTC, and these funds most actually belong to Binance clients, not the trade itself. 

Trying to find the biggest BTC wallets doesn’t give the total image, nevertheless, as whales are more likely to divide their holdings between numerous wallets. For instance, Satoshi Nakamoto, the nameless creator of Bitcoin, owns greater than 1.1 million BTC, however the quantity is cut up between 22,000 completely different wallets. 

Is the U.S. authorities the largest Bitcoin whale in addition to Satoshi? It’s exhausting to say, nevertheless it actually holds greater than Bitcoin’s largest public advocate, Michael Saylor. Via his software program firm, Microstrategy, Saylor was in a position to accumulate over 130,000 BTC over the course of the previous two years. 

Concern for Bitcoin Holders?

Sometimes, the U.S. authorities liquidates its Bitcoin holdings by the U.S. Marshalls Service by public auctions. For instance, Enterprise Capitalist Tim Draper famously purchased 30,000 BTC from the federal government in 2014 for about $18.5 million—or roughly $616 per coin. Probably, the BTC seized by the DOJ can be equally provided to the general public.

In recent times, the DOJ has tried to time its auctions in keeping with market gyrations to promote its holdings for the best value attainable. In November 2021, it auctioned off $56 million value of cryptocurrencies seized from a BitConnect promoter, efficiently liquidating the holdings on the peak of the bull market. Whether or not the company may have the endurance to attend for Bitcoin to rise once more earlier than promoting its holdings is but to be seen. To this point, it has restrained itself from liquidating the proceeds from the Particular person X and Razzlekhan confiscations.

Disclosure: On the time of writing, the writer of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and a number of other different digital belongings.

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