The United States government has now surpassed MicroStrategy and Tesla as one of the largest holders of Bitcoin, with over 205,000 BTC in its possession, Dune data on March 27 shows. This figure is slightly over 1% of the current circulating supply and is worth $5,734,743,113 at spot rates.
United States Government Seizes Billions Worth Of Bitcoin
According to trackers, MicroStrategy holds 132,500 BTC while Tesla owns 10,725 BTC, less than what the United States government controls.
Earlier, authorities held at least 215,000 BTC but sent 9,860 BTC to Coinbase in early March 2023. Still, this leaves the government with a massive stash of coins they have seized in separate events over the years.
In the first instance, the government seized 69,369 BTC from a person they dubbed “Individual X” linked to the Silk Road marketplace. Individual X’s address, known as “1HQ3,” was confirmed to have originated from the Silk Road through blockchain analysis.
Reports indicate that federal law enforcement seized the funds on November 3, 2020, after seeking forfeiture with the courts. “Individual X” agreed to forfeit all assets as part of a deal with the government.
In the second instance, 94,636 BTC directly linked to the 2016 hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex were seized by United States authorities.
Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were also arrested in connection with the case. They allegedly conspired to launder 119,754 BTC in over 2,000 transactions within five years.
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) said this was the “largest cryptocurrency seizure to date,” valued at more than $4 billion at spot rates.
The third case involved James Zhong, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully obtaining over 50,000 Bitcoin from the Silk Road marketplace.
On November 9, 2021, the DoJ searched Zhong’s house in Gainesville, Georgia, and seized more than 51,326 BTC, valued at over $3.36 billion.
Increasing Success In Recovery Rates
While Bitcoin is pseudonymous, it can also be abused by malicious agents and used as a tool for money laundering and terrorist financing. And the government’s increasing Bitcoin holdings reflect the authorities’ success in dealing with bad actors and providing a reprieve for victims.
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The seizure of thousands of Bitcoin by governments and law enforcement agencies, especially in the United States, points to the work done behind the scenes to protect users and brings violators to justice.
While authorities register success, regulations are being developed to streamline processes and cushion investors against rogue agents, especially as crypto becomes more mainstream.
As crypto and Bitcoin are adopted, major banks, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, have started offering cryptocurrency trading services to their clients.
Feature Image From Canva, Chart From TradingView