The U.S. government has amassed Bitcoin holdings valued at around $5 billion, primarily from seizures related to criminal activities. These assets, secured in encrypted hardware wallets, are overseen by departments like the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.
Major seizures include:
69,000 BTC from Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht.
95,000 BTC linked to the Bitfinex crypto exchange hack.
Over 50,000 BTC from James Zhong, involved in Silk Road fraud.
This accumulation isn't driven by market speculation. Instead, it stems from extended legal proceedings tied to confiscations. The government's Bitcoin price has sometimes surged during these holding periods, such as with the Bitfinex theft, where BTC's value rose from $600 to $44,000 by the time of arrest.
It's worth noting that seized assets are only owned by the government after a final court forfeiture order. Until then, they're held as crime evidence.
The U.S. Marshals Service, tasked with liquidating these assets, now sells through crypto exchanges in staggered batches to stabilize market impacts. For example, they sold 9,861 BTC via Coinbase in March, and another 41,500 BTC are set for liquidation by 2023's end.
Sales proceeds typically fund victim compensation or bolster high-tech crime investigations.
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