From the heightened federal crackdown on the crypto industry, it might appear the U.S. government cannot stand crypto assets. Yet there is a love-hate relationship: the federal government holds more than 200,000 Bitcoin worth over $5 billion despite offloading a few thousand BTC worth millions earlier this year. This arguably makes the U.S. the largest holder of Bitcoin among countries.
How The U.S. Government Became A Top Bictoin Holder
The United States government is now one of the largest Bitcoin holders. Per a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, it is estimated that the U.S. government still holds 194,188 BTC, valued at $5.3 billion based on today’s market rates.
The large cache of Bitcoins is a result of three high-profile crackdowns on cybercrime and darknet activities, including the Silk Road seizure of 69,369 BTC in November 2020, the January 2022 Bitfinex hack confiscation of 94,643 BTC, and the seizure of roughly 51,326 Bitcoins from James Zhong last March. A considerable amount of BTC was also seized from Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, contributing to the government’s increasing stockpile.
It’s worth mentioning that the U.S. government’s Bitcoin hoard is stored offline in hardware wallets managed by the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
U.S Government Owns More Bitcoin Than Microstrategy And Tesla Combined
Unlike regular crypto traders who ride the market’s wild ups and downs, the U.S. government’s Bitcoin cache isn’t affected by price swings. It’s not an investment strategy, but just a result of lengthy legal procedures. According to senior IRS executive Jarod Koopman, the government’s actions are dependent on its timelines, not market trends.
Notably, seized crypto assets do not immediately belong to the federal government. The U.S. Marshals Service, the agency tasked with selling seized property, only gets possession of the confiscated BTC after a court issues a forfeiture decision.
That being said, the U.S. government’s seized 194,188 Bitcoins constitute a considerable stash compared to that of other large holders. Although smaller than Grayscale’s cache of 643,572 BTC, it exceeds Microstrategy’s stash of 158,245 BTC and Tesla’s 10,725 BTC.