Bulgaria’s government may be in possession of up to 200,000 Bitcoin (BTC), which is currently worth more than $4.2 billion.
Bulgarian authorities may have 200,000 BTC tokens from a criminal syndicate busted in 2017, according to CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju.
Ki’s disclosure comes amid a series of tweets from the co-founder of CryptoQuant as he attempts to compile a list of governments that may have BTC in their possession.
“PLOT TWIST: Bulgaria’s government might have 200k+ Bitcoins.” “Bulgarian authorities disclosed that they discovered 200k BTC from criminals but did not specify that these Bitcoin were successfully seized,” Ki noted in a tweet Thursday.
Bulgarian authorities raided over 100 locations suspected of being involved in a local customs-related computerized crime that had plagued the Customs authorities for some time.
According to a 2017 report by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), authorities arrested 23 suspects and confiscated a large amount of money discovered in the bust.
Meanwhile, following a thorough investigation, Bulgarian authorities discovered that the perpetrators had invested proceeds from criminal activity in Bitcoin.
This was when the asset was trading at $2.3k. As a result, the 200K BTC was worth nearly $500M.
Despite disclosing that the criminals invested the profits in Bitcoin, Bulgarian authorities did not reveal whether the assets were confiscated or what action was taken.
Regardless, the majority of people believe the assets were seized by the government, which is the only logical conclusion.
If this claim is correct, the Bulgarian government would have 200K BTC, far exceeding MicroStrategy’s total holding of 130K BTC.
If the authorities successfully seized the assets, it is unclear whether they were auctioned off or kept somewhere. Over the years, conflicting reports have emerged, with authorities remaining silent.
If cryptocurrencies are legal in the country, confiscated crypto assets are typically converted to fiat and sent to the treasury, as seen in the United States.
Meanwhile, while cryptocurrencies are not considered financial instruments in Bulgaria, the authorities tax income generated from trading them.
Despite not being regarded as an emerging crypto hub, the economic environment in Bulgaria has not overshadowed the growth of the Balkan nation’s cryptocurrency industry.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Finance announced plans to launch cryptocurrency payments earlier this year.
Despite the rising number of crypto-related crimes, Bulgarian authorities have not been as hostile to bitcoin as some other countries, such as China.
As recently reported, China, like Bulgaria, discovered BTC reserves from a crime bust sometime in 2019.
The Chinese authorities seized 194K BTC and 833K ETH from the now-defunct PlusToken Ponzi Scheme, which duped investors primarily from China and South Korea.
The assets were transferred to the country’s national treasury by the authorities.