How the US government lost $1.7 billion in Bitcoin

13th February 2020

The United States government missed out on approximately $1.7 billion by auctioning off its seized Bitcoin too soon. Jameson Lopp, a crypto enthusiast, used back-dated market rates to build a portal that can estimate the amount of money these sales have brought in since 2014. US authorities have seized 185,230 BTC between 2014 and now – let’s take a look at how the US government lost $1.7 billion in Bitcoin.

How did this happen?

Hard Fork ran Lopp’s numbers to gauge the rough price of each BTC auctioned off by the US Marshals. According to them, it appears that they sold Bitcoin for just $818 each on average. To put this in perspective, Bitcoin is currently worth $10,291.20 each (at the time of writing). Had they held out and sold today, they would have netted around $1.85 billion.

Bitcoin sold by the US Marshals has earned them about $151 million. So, it would seem that the US has lost out on a cool $1.7 billion – just because they sold the seized Bitcoin steadily over 6 years, rather than hodling.

Turns out, the US government could really learn a thing or two from Bitcoin enthusiasts. Not hodling is basically how the US government lost $1.7 billion in Bitcoin.

The UK is doing slightly better

UK officials are doing a bit better than Americans. They’ve been in the business of auctioning seized cryptocurrency, but only since late last year. In September 2019, Hard Fork reported that Wilsons Auctions sold Bitcoin for an average of $8,365 each. 0.5 BTC came in at $4,236 and 0.25 BTC sold for $2,426. That’s a lot higher than the $818 average the US has come to.

At the time, Bitcoin was trading at around $8,000, so the UK finalized the auctions at above market rates.

Bulgaria’s government is doing even better – rumours that they’re sitting on 200,000 seized BTC (around $2 billion) have been going around for a while now.

Local media reports have indicated that the full amount of crypto was sold to several sovereign wealth funds and Asian investors for roughly $16,000 a coin, which is pretty damn remarkable.

If you’re looking to buy Bitcoin at better rates than Bulgaria is offering, check out Tap. Tap is a combined crypto wallet and exchange app (and crypto card) that scans all major exchanges to find you the best prices on the cryptocurrencies of your choice.

Bulgaria’s Bitcoin Hoard Could Overtake UK’s Gold Reserves

— Trustnodes (@TrustNodes) May 20, 2019

The US has really missed out

US authorities have seized 185,230 BTC between 2014 and now - let’s take a look at how the US government lost $1.7 billion in Bitcoin. 

When we look at how the US government lost $1.7 billion in Bitcoin, it’s clear that they’ve really missed out. Had they only held the seized Bitcoin, it would’ve been worth around $1.85 billion at the time of writing. Now, that’s not too shabby. Instead, they averaged out at a price that hasn’t been seen since 2016. The UK is faring slightly better though, as they only started auctioning BTC off last year. Clearly the US and the UK have something to learn about the hodl life.

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