The Chinese government holds more Bitcoin than MicroStrategy and Tesla combined, making it one of the world’s largest Bitcoin whales. According to Ki Young Ju, Co-founder & CEO of crypto analytics firm Cryptoquant, the President Xi Jinping administration now holds about $3.93 billion worth of BTC alongside a list of other cryptocurrencies.
“FUN FACT: The government of China is a crypto whale. Chinese authorities seized 194k BTC, 833k ETH, and others from the PlusToken scam in 2019. They forfeited these $6 billion-worth assets to the national treasury.” Ju tweeted.
Since there are no publicly available records that China has purchased any Bitcoin, this stash is mainly believed to have come from government seizures. In 2020, Chinese authorities seized about $4.2 billion in various cryptos from a Chinese Ponzi scheme dubbed “plus token”. A court ruling established a total of 194,775 BTC, 833,083 ETH, 1.4 million LTC, 487 million XRP, 6 billion DOGE and 213,724 USDT, among other cryptocurrencies, had been recovered, with over seven people being arrested during the crackdown.
Given that these are the only publicly available records, pundits believe that China could have seized some more Bitcoin, especially during the nationwide purge of crypto miners in 2020. The 194.7k plus coins translate to about 0.9% of all Bitcoins that will ever be mined. Notably, the value of those coins rose to just over $13 billion during Bitcoin’s peak of $68,789 in November 2021.
China is only second to Grayscale, which is the world’s largest single entity bitcoin holder with 643,572 BTC worth about $13 billion based on data from BuyBitcoinWorldwide. On the other hand, MicroStrategy, the largest bitcoin holding entity among publicly listed companies, owns 130,000 BTC worth about $2.62 billion, all of which it has acquired through purchases since 2020.
The US government currently holds 70,124 BTC, most of which were confiscated from cyber criminals or violators. Ukraine ranks 3rd among the largest bitcoin-holding governments, with an April 2021 report showing that government officials held 46,351 BTC, with several whales among them.
Meanwhile, although Bulgarian authorities announced in 2017 that they had seized around 200,000 bitcoins, they later refuted the claim. If the seizure happened, those bitcoins should now be worth around $4.5 billion in today’s prices, making Bulgaria one of the world’s largest government-holding Bitcoin.
El Salvador is perhaps the only publicly known country to acquire its Bitcoin through purchases. Currently, the central American country holds a total of 2,381 BTC with an estimated value of $49.2 million.