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Governments Holding Most Bitcoin

Governments Holding Most Bitcoin

That a government can own Bitcoin, although it may seem a contradiction, is a reality.

Different governments worldwide have a significant amount of bitcoins in their coffers. They even own more BTC than large crypto companies combined. Let’s review which governments hold the biggest amounts of bitcoin and how they got it.

Bitcoin and Governments

The words bitcoin and government seem like an ideological contradiction at first glance. On the one hand, we have the government figure as a centralized entity designed to exercise order and control, structured by political power and the traditional economic system. On the other, there is Bitcoin, an asset with essence and roots centered on freedom and decentralization. Independent money, without intermediaries and censorship, is designed as a new financial, technological, and cultural paradigm. It is an alternative money to that of large financial institutions and outside the control of governments and central banks.

However, despite the apparent contradiction, governments worldwide have amassed many bitcoins. How have they obtained these bitcoins? Primarily by exercising control and law enforcement. That is, by confiscating or seizing BTC related to hacks, scams, and other illicit activities except in El Salvador, where bitcoins come from the government’s reliance on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Estimates

According to data from the Bitcoin Treasuries and Arkham Intelligence platforms, the amount of bitcoin accumulated by the five governments in the world that hold the most BTC amounts to 567,000 BTC. Equivalent to about $35.6 billion at the close of this publication. It is important to note that it is difficult to specify the amount of BTC held by governments since the data is confidential. However, let’s see which governments accumulate the most bitcoin worldwide.

Blockchain Technology in Governments

United States

The U.S. government is currently one of the major Bitcoin whales. The U.S. executive amasses some 216,811 BTC, more than 1% of the cryptocurrency’s total supply, according to Arkham’s tracking of wallets associated with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The figure means the U.S. government has more than $13.7 billion worth of Bitcoin under its possession. It also holds just over $180 million in other crypto assets, such as Ethereum (ETH) and the Tether (USDT), USDC, and Dai (DAI) stablecoins.

The U.S. government has been hoarding the bulk of its cryptocurrency holdings over the last few years as a result of seizures made by the authorities. The most representative cases are the seizures of darknet market funds, Silk Road and its leaders, the hacking of the crypto-exchange Bitfinex, or the Ponzi scheme, HashFlare.


China is one of the global territories most reluctant to the presence of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. However, the government of the Asian nation is the second government with the largest amount of bitcoin in the world, accumulating more than 194,000 BTC. This figure figures as part of the massive asset seizure made by Chinese police in late 2020 linked to the crypto pyramid scam, PlusToken, listing 194,775 BTC, among other assets. Many consider this scam one of the worst related to the crypto world, with 2 million investors defrauded.

United Kingdom

According to Arkham data, the third place is for the U.K. government, with 61,245 bitcoins under their control. U.K. authorities raided the assets during an operation regarding a £5 billion scam organized and executed by Chinese national Zhimin Qian. Police seized different mobile devices in 2018 during the raid on Qian’s home, but it wasn’t until 2021 that they discovered the existence of the funds in BTC. Unlike a good portion of her bitcoins, Qian’s whereabouts are currently unknown, as she is a fugitive from justice and on an Interpol red notice.


According to Arkham data, Germany’s government is the fourth largest Bitcoin holder, with some 49,859 BTC. The German Federal Criminal Investigation Office (BKA) seized the funds at the end of January 2024 during an investigation against two men accused of operating a website dedicated to movie piracy called Movie2K. The fraudsters transferred the Bitcoins voluntarily, the German police explained, by the accused, who used much of the proceeds to buy BTC since 2013.

El Salvador

The government of El Salvador accumulates more than 3,746 bitcoins in its balance sheets. Unlike the rest of the countries on this list, the Salvadoran government’s BTC funds come from its strategy to become the first country in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele established a strategy of scheduled purchases, specifically of 1 bitcoin per day for the country’s coffers in 2022. In mid-March 2024, Bukele shared the official Salvadoran government wallet, where he accumulated his Bitcoin holdings. Bukele’s government had received criticism for not communicating the BTC purchases made. Bukele’s government also ratified the daily purchase of Bitcoin, so the figure is increasing constantly.

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