Bulgaria has been covertly stockpiling Bitcoins, so much so that their BTC reserve has surpassed its gold holdings. Back in May 2017, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) issued a press release that the country has over 200,000 BTC (around $2.1 billion) as opposed to just 40 tons in gold (around $1.8 billion). The release stated:
“It was determined that the members of the organized crime group invested the money obtained from these illegal activities in bitcoins, around 200,000 being discovered in the virtual space.”
The investigators determined that they had precisely 213,519 BTC. Strangely enough, the Bulgarian Government has remained relatively silent regarding their alleged holdings. There have been several rumors floating around about these mysterious Bitcoins. One of these rumors stated that the Bulgarian Interior Ministry sold the stash to fund a new air force squadron. Various crypto media outlets immediately trashed this. The Government’s continued reluctance to reveal the Bitcoin addresses hints that they are likely still in control of the Bitcoin holdings.
For the first time in history, the bitcoin holdings of a nation state have surpassed their gold reserves, and it happens to be Bulgaria.
The country is believed to hold more than 200,000 bitcoins, now worth about $2 billion, while their gold reserves of 40 tones are worth only $1.8 billion.
Making it the first time a nation state has more value stored in bitcoin than in gold reserves.
That’s per a May 2017 press release by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Centre (SELEC) which announced in a headline: “More than 200,000 bitcoins in value of 500 million USD found by the Bulgarian authorities.” They further said:
“With SELEC’ support, the Bulgarian authorities successfully finalized the joint investigation…
The organized criminal group consisted in Bulgarian nationals having connections in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Romania and Republic of Serbia.
The modus operandi used was recruiting corrupted Customs officers in all involved countries with the purpose to infiltrate a virus in the Customs’ computerized systems. Once the virus installed, from distance, the offenders were able to finalize various transports, as in the Customs’ system appeared that the cargo was already checked and passed.
The Bulgarian authorities have searched more than 100 addresses, suspects and vehicles. A large quantity of money was seized, as well as equipment, devices for communication, computers, tablets, bank documents, etc…
It was determined that the members of the organized crime group invested the money obtained from these illegal activities in bitcoins, around 200,000 being discovered in the virtual space.