The US government has now surpassed MicroStrategy and Tesla as one of the largest Bitcoin holders, with over 205,000 BTC in its possession, according to Dune data as of March 27. This amount represents slightly more than 1% of the current circulating supply and is valued at $5,734,743,113 at spot rates.
According to trackers, MicroStrategy owns 132,500 BTC, while Tesla owns 10,725 BTC, which is less than what the US government owns.
Authorities previously held at least 215,000 BTC but transferred 9,860 BTC to Coinbase in early March 2023. Nonetheless, the government now has a massive stash of coins seized in separate events over the years.
In the first case, the government seized 69,369 BTC from a person identified as “Individual X” who was linked to the Silk Road marketplace. Blockchain analysis confirmed that Individual X’s address, known as “1HQ3,” originated on the Silk Road.
According to reports, federal law enforcement seized the funds on November 3, 2020, after filing a forfeiture petition with the courts. As part of a deal with the government, “Individual X” agreed to forfeit all assets.
In the second case, US authorities seized 94,636 BTC directly linked to the 2016 hack of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.
In connection with the case, Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were also arrested. They allegedly planned to launder 119,754 BTC in over 2,000 transactions over the course of five years.
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), this is the “largest cryptocurrency seizure to date,” worth more than $4 billion at spot rates.
In the third case, James Zhong pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining more than 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.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin is pseudonymous, it can be abused by malicious agents and used for money laundering and terrorist financing. Furthermore, the government’s growing Bitcoin holdings reflect the government’s success in dealing with bad actors and providing relief to victims.
The seizure of thousands of Bitcoin by governments and law enforcement agencies, particularly in the United States, demonstrates the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to protect users and bring violators to justice.
While authorities report success, regulations are being drafted to streamline processes and protect investors from rogue agents, particularly as cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream.
As cryptocurrency and Bitcoin become more popular, major banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have begun to offer cryptocurrency trading services to their clients.