Globally the state authorities have confiscated from citizens a total of 453.000 BTC or 2.6% of the current issue of the first cryptocurrency. This is evidenced by the results of the investigation conducted by the Block Media.
The first mass confiscation took place following the closure of the Silk Road darknet marketplace in 2013. Back then, the authorities of the United States have seized 174.000 BTC. Some of these assets were sold at auction, after which the entrepreneur Tim Draper became one of the owners. In total, the U.S. government agencies seized 198.000 bitcoins based on more than 100 lawsuits. At the moment, between 4.1-10.000 BTC remains in state ownership, the rest of bitcoins went under the hammer at an average price of $780 per coin.
However, the largest confiscation so far occurred in Bulgaria. In May 2017, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) announced a seizure of “more than 200,000 bitcoins in the value of 500 million USD.” According to other sources, 215.519 BTC (equivalent to $1.3 billion in current prices) were confiscated during an organized crime bust involving corrupt customs officers. At the time of the seizure (the press release went out on May 19, 2017) bitcoin was trading at the minimum average $8,247, and the seized sum was worth around $1.7 billion - enough to pay off one-seventh of Bulgaria’s national debt.
As stated in the press release of the center, these funds belonged to a criminal group that tried to launder fiat money through cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, in December of the same year, representative of the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office explained that the law enforcement agencies had not really seized this amount. Security agencies also did not publish any details, such as the wallets addresses where these funds are located.
Recently, Bulgarian authorities have arrested another group of governmental bodies involved in the corruption with the use of cryptocurrencies. However, this case still doesn’t unveil the amount of bitcoins figurating in the process.
If we take into account the "SELEC case", then the publicly known amount of crypto assets that were seized reaches 453.000 bitcoins. From this number, more than 47% fall on Bulgaria, almost 32% on the United States and 21% on the rest of the countries.
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