US gov’t moved $922 million of seized Bitcoin after BTC price broke $60,000

    2024.02.29 | exchangesranking | 116onlookers

    The United States government transferred $922 million worth of Bitcoin from two cryptocurrency wallets that held funds seized from Bitfinex in 2016.

    The U.S. government’s transfers occurred the same day Bitcoin (BTC) breached $60,000 for the first time in over two years on Feb. 28. Bitcoin rose 5.52% in the 24 hours leading up to 9:45 pm UTC to trade at $62,507. The world’s first cryptocurrency is up over 20% in the past week.

    The first test transfer, worth only 1 Bitcoin ($60,200 during the transfer), occurred at 3:39 pm on Feb. 28. Shortly after, the U.S. government-labeled wallet sent a second transaction worth 2,817 Bitcoin ($172.74 million), a third transaction worth 0.01 Bitcoin ($613.35) and a fourth transaction worth 12,267 Bitcoin ($748.46 million), according to Arkham Intelligence data.

    U.S. government Bitcoin wallet transfers. Source: Arkham Intelligence

    The government seized the funds in 2016 after Bitfinex was hacked for approximately 119,754 BTC, worth over $7.4 billion at its current price.

    The transfers occurred a day after Ilya Lichtenstein, a hacker who stole and laundered over $4.5 billion worth of Bitcoin from the Bitfinex exchange, appeared in a Washington court detailing how he pulled off one the world’s largest Bitcoin heists.

    Lichtenstein reportedly told a jury on Feb. 27 that he had access to Bitfinex’s systems for several months while also hacking individual accounts at other exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken, according to a Bloomberg report.

    Lichtenstein and his rapper wife, Heather Morgan (also known as Razzlekhan), were arrested in February 2022. At the time, the U.S. government alleged they conspired to launder $4.5 billion in hacked Bitcoin, of which the government seized $3.6 billion in the largest financial seizure in history. The government seized an additional $475 million worth of Bitcoin on Aug. 3, 2022.

    Lichtenstein and his wife pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in connection with the Bitfinex hack in August 2023. Amazon has reportedly started making a movie on the Bitfinex money launderers. The script will reportedly be inspired by a 2022 article on the couple in The New York Times, branding them as “Bitcoin’s Bonnie and Clyde.”

    Related: Why is Bitcoin price up today?

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