US Government Remains a Significant Bitcoin Holder, With Seized Assets Valued at $5.6 Billion – Bitcoin News


As of March 25, 2023, the U.S. government had 205,515 bitcoins valued at $5.6 billion. This is around 1.06% of the total number of bitcoins. The three forfeitures that began in 2020 resulted in the bitcoin stash, according to Glassnode’s on-chain data, which revealed that on March 9, 8,960 bitcoins worth $269 million had been transferred to a Coinbase address.

Uncle Sam’s Crypto Trove: How the U.S. Government Became a Top Bitcoin Holder

The U.S. government currently holds 205,515 bitcoins valued at $5.66 billion based on current exchange rates. The bitcoins were obtained through three seizures: the Silk Road seizure in November 2020, the Bitfinex Hack confiscation in 2022, and the James Zhong seizure last year. Of the total, 69,369 BTC were taken from “Individual X”, 94,643 BTC were taken from Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife Heather Morgan, and 51,326 BTC were taken from Zhong in November 2022.

According to a report from Glassnode on March 9, 2023: some of these bitcoins were relocated, reducing the total from 215,338 BTC to 205,515 BTC. “Approximately [40,000 bitcoins] from wallets associated with U.S. Government law enforcement seizures are on the move,” Glassnode said. “The majority of these appear to be internal transfers (so far). However, around 9,861 [bitcoin] seized from the Silk Road hacker have been sent to our Coinbase cluster.”

Screenshot From Glassnode On March 9, 2023.

The current estimate of 205,515 bitcoins is derived from a data set created and maintained by 21Shares, an exchange traded product provider. The data shows the U.S. government’s addresses and transaction history. 44% of the BTC currently seized came from the Bitfinex Forfeiture, 32.2% from “Individual X”, and 23.8% from the Zhong seizure. It is possible that the U.S. government possesses more bitcoins than what 21Shares’ data set records. In summary, the 205,515 BTC is a lower-bound estimation based only on publicly available information.

The U.S. government’s seized 205,515 bitcoins constitute an impressive stash relative to other large holders. Although it is smaller than Grayscale’s cache of 643,572 BTC, it surpasses Microstrategy’s stash of 132,500 BTC. If consolidated, it would be second in size to the list of bitcoin-rich addresses, and behind Binance’s bitcoin cold wallet, which holds 248,597 BTC at the time of writing.

The federal government’s bitcoin stash is also larger than the roughly 140,000 BTC in the Mt Gox cache. This isn’t the first time the U.S. government has been a top holder; after seizing the original bitcoin from the Silk Road marketplace, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was the second largest holder of BTC. Nonetheless, the government’s stash at that time was reduced after the U.S. Marshals held bitcoin auctions in 2014 to sell crypto assets.

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