German Government Moves $195 Million in Bitcoin to Exchanges Amid Market Concerns

Business meeting about the investment decision for bitcoin concept: Miniature businessman figurines standing near the pile of shiny golden bitcoin on Germany flag.
  • The German government transferred around US$195 million worth of Bitcoin to exchange wallets over June 19-21, according to Arkham Intelligence. 
  • The transfers were conducted by the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), which had seized nearly 50,000 BTC from suspects running a piracy site earlier this year.

Fears of a large Bitcoin liquidation have been sparked as a wallet address thought to belong to the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) moved around US$195 million (AU$292.8m) in BTC in the past few days to what looks to be exchange wallets.

Data from Blockchain analytics platform Arkham Intelligence shows that an address it identified as belonging to the German government agency moved $600m worth of Bitcoin on June 20, and sent $195m in BTC to multiple likely exchange wallets including Kraken, Bitstamp, and Coinbase. 

The news understandably raised concerns about selling pressure on BTC’s price should the German Government sell in the near future.  

Related: Whale Watching: $61M Worth of BTC Gets Transferred After Decade of Inactivity


Germany’s Huge Bitcoin Holdings Come From Money Laundering Sting

The German police’s BTC holdings are believed to have originated from its seizure of 50,000 Bitcoin (worth US$2.17b at the time) in January this year, as part of a commercial money laundering sting focused on two suspects that ran a popular piracy website The huge crypto haul was voluntarily transferred to BKA’s wallet by one of the suspects. 

At the time it was described as Germany’s “most extensive seizure of Bitcoins” and that a final decision on how the BTC would be utilised had not yet been made.

Arkham’s data shows the BKA agency wallet still holds 47.179 Bitcoin valued at US$3.06 billion (AU$4.5b). Germany’s holdings have climbed in value considerably since the seizure, as explained by Ki Young Ju, founder of on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant:

Germany Fourth-Largest Government BTC Holder

Data from Bitcoin Treasuries shows that Germany’s Bitcoin holdings are the fourth-largest of governments around the world. Law enforcement actions in recent years also largely account for the massive holdings by the other nations in the top four—the US, China and UK. 

El Salvador—the sixth-largest government holder—has famously pioneered the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, with its government intentionally accumulating the digital asset. 

Related: El Salvador to Start Purchasing 1 Bitcoin a Day

It’s unclear what Australia’s holdings are, but the Australian Federal Police reportedly seized more than AU$41m of crypto in the 2022-23 financial year. 

Jody McDonald

Jody McDonald

Jody is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who specialises in writing about business, technology, and the future of work.

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