Bulgaria, known for its sandy beaches and its hearty cuisine, also owns the second-largest stash of Bitcoin in the world.
As far as Bitcoin concerned, most people who follow the cryptocurrency’s history know that Satoshi Nakamoto has the largest hoard. But how many people know that Bulgaria comes second on this list? Bulgaria’s government is resting on a Bitcoin stash that would make any other country—even the United States—envious.
The Bulgarian authorities started collecting Bitcoin while they cracked down on illegal activities in the country, as many criminals were paid in Bitcoin. In particular, a series of arrests in mid-2017 led to the capture of 213,519 BTC, according to Novinite. At current rates, this is equivalent to just under a billion and a half dollars.
We have no way of knowing whether the Bulgarian government made use of any of the coins, but if it retained them all, the country could pay off 25% of its national debt overnight.
The country’s Bitcoin hoard surpasses the United States’ because the US authorities auction off any seized coins as soon as possible. A few months ago, the US Marshals Service ran an auction to sell almost 2,200 BTC.
Some of the auctioned-off money belonged at one point to Shaun Bridges, a secret service agent who stole some of the proceeds from the 144,000-Bitcoin takedown of Silk Road—a darknet marketplace—by the FBI.
It’s not clear whether the Bulgarian government has any plans for its enormous stash of Bitcoin, but maybe it’s better to “HODL” it as a rainy day fund.
The only other entity that has a holding nearly as large as this country is BitFinex, an exchange that currently has a wallet of about 163,000 BTC, or over $1 billion. This particular wallet is kept in cold storage to be used, most likely, in the event of a breach.