Bitcoin Held in Government Wallets Climbs to $17.8B

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Recent data from blockchain analytical firm Arkham shows several governments are holding Bitcoin (BTC) worth $17.8 billion in private wallets. At Bitcoin’s current market price of $55,447, this translates to over 321,027 BTC.

Bitcoin Seizures by Various Governments

The $17.8 billion worth of BTC accounts for those seized from criminal activities in the United Kingdom, United States, and Germany. The US government held the largest share of Bitcoin, with approximately $12 billion worth of Bitcoin under its control. This BTC holding is notable as it more than doubles the $5 billion figure recorded in October 2023.

Notably, a large portion of the Bitcoin held by the US government is reported to be from those seized from the Silk Road marketplace in 2012. The stolen Bitcoin was around $3.36 billion, at the time of the seizure. Subsequent operations from the government targeted darknet markets and Bitfinex cyber attacks, resulting in the authorities securing an impressive amount of Bitcoin.

In the past, the US government sold seized BTC through auctions overseen by U.S. Marshals Service. However,  current reports point to a move toward more market-based strategies, such as over-the-counter (OTC) sales. Meanwhile, the government was reported to have transferred $922 million worth of BTC from its stash. This was done on the following increases in the price of the leading digital asset.

United Kingdom Holds $3.3B BTC

According to the report from Arkham, the United Kingdom follows behind the US with Bitcoin holdings of about $3.3 billion. Similar to the US, a large portion of this holding can be attributed to various law enforcement operations.

In 2021, the Metropolitan Police reported seizing cryptocurrency valued at £180 million (around $250 million) as part of a money laundering investigation. In March 2023, the UK government recorded the largest BTC seizure of $2.5 billion, confiscated from a hospitality worker, Jian Wen.

Germany’s BTC Holding Climbs to $2.2B

Germany has also joined countries holding BTC, with approximately $2.2 billion worth of BTC held in its custody. In February, German authorities announced plans to sell seized Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency worth €1 billion ($1.08 billion). Subsequently, in July, the government transferred approximately $17.6 million worth of BTC to top crypto exchanges including Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken.

It is worth mentioning that this decision was a dramatic departure from their prior strategy of clinging to digital assets that had been seized.

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