USA Bitcoin Confiscation Total Nears 200,000 BTC as Worldwide Tally is Over 450,000 Coins Seized
According to a recent study, the total amount of Bitcoin seized is 2.6% of the circulating supply. However, how is that possible for governments to seize Bitcoin when they require the private key of the funds? Well, it seems that several individuals and criminals did not follow the best practices to store their Bitcoins.
A few weeks ago, a news article about the number of Bitcoins seized by the U.S. government spread on social media. According to it, the government of the United States has more Bitcoins than anyone else in the world. This article was based on an article from December 2013.
Indeed, back in 2013, the government of the United States controlled over 174,000 BTC. Most of them were seized from Ross Ulbricht, the individual in charge of the Silk Road marketplace that was very popular years ago.
Part of the funds related to the Silk Road has been auctioned off in June 2014. The popular and recognized investor Tim Draper was able to get these BTC. Another portion of these funds has been auctioned off as well later in September 2017.
Although the United States owns Bitcoins, it does not have the large amount many individuals think it has. As per the report, the U.S. government owns, at least, 4,100 BTC, but no more than 10,000 BTC. During the last years, the U.S. government seized 198,000 from over 100 different federal criminal administrative cases.
Nevertheless, 98% of these BTC were sold. As per the report, each BTC was sold for a price of $780 dollars.
Back in May, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center informed that over 200,000 BTC were found by the Bulgarian authorities. An illegal group invested the money they had from illegal activities in Bitcoin. However, the head of the Bulgaria Special Prosecutor's Office clarified that they did not seize any Bitcoin.
If these funds from the Bulgarian criminal group were seized, the amount of Bitcoin seized around the world would reach 453,000 BTC. That means that 2.6% of the total circulating supply could have been seized. Nevertheless, most of the BTC seized were from the two aforementioned cases, the Silk Road and from the Bulgarian criminal group.