China has unknowingly become a crypto ‘whale’ with such enormous power on its palms that it could crush the whole cryptocurrency market in a matter of seconds if it chose to. This is despite the broad prohibition on digital assets in the country. In point of fact, as a result of the 2019 seizure of a sizable quantity of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) stolen from the Plus Token scheme, the Chinese government now possesses a greater quantity of Bitcoin than either MicroStrategy or Tesla, Inc.
Since there are no documents that can be accessed by the general public indicating that China has acquired any Bitcoin, this hoard is primarily thought to have originated through official seizures. Around $4.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency belonging to a Chinese Ponzi scam known as “plus token” was confiscated by Chinese authorities in the year 2020.
A court verdict revealed that during the crackdown, a total of 194,775 Bitcoin, 833,083 Ethereum, 1.4 million Litecoin, 487 million Ripple, 6 billion Dogecoin, and 213,724 USDT, as well as other cryptocurrencies, had been confiscated, and over seven individuals were arrested.
China’s Bitcoin And Other Crypto Holdings
Critics consider that China could have confiscated additional Bitcoin, particularly during the countrywide crackdown on cryptocurrency miners in the year 2020, in spite of the fact that these are the only records that are openly available. The 194.7k coins and above represent around 0.9% of the total number of Bitcoins that will ever be mined. Significantly, the price of those coins increased to slightly over $13 billion in November 2021, when Bitcoin’s price reached its all-time high of $68,789.
This data was initially published on November 2 by Ki Young Ju, who is the founder and CEO of the blockchain data analytics company CyptoQuant. In addition to publishing this information, he also provided a table that listed the public firms that held the most Bitcoin at that time.
As Ki Young Ju explained: “Chinese authorities seized 194k BTC, 833k ETH, and others from the PlusToken scam in 2019. They forfeited these $6 billion-worth assets to the national treasury. FWIW, MicroStrategy has 130k BTC.”
According to a different statement that Young Ju made on Twitter, China isn’t the only state that ‘hodls,’ as he pointed out that the government of Bulgaria might have more than 200K Bitcoins that were seized from a crypto-crime ring in 2017. Commenting on these findings on his Twitter account, Young Ju emphasized that the sell-side liquidity provided by miners, institutional investors, and retail investors is essentially nothing when compared to governments.
Meanwhile, to the best of the public’s knowledge, El Salvador is the only country in the world to have obtained its Bitcoin through direct purchases. At the moment, the nation in Central America has a total of 2,381 BTC, which is equivalent to a value of around $49.2 million.
China’s Influence On The Crypto Market
Young Ju argued that the price of Bitcoin went from $30,000 to $17,000 due to the lack of liquidity on the Luna sell-side market. He did this by drawing comparisons with the collapse of the Terra (LUNA) platform. That was somewhere in the region of 80,000 Bitcoin, which means it’s basically twice as much as the Terra Luna crash. According to José, if China were to start selling the 194,000 BTC that it had seized, it could drastically harm the cryptocurrency market, bringing the price of Bitcoin down to $5,000 in little than seven seconds.
It is interesting to note that China has been on an anti-crypto crusade since the middle of 2021, putting a state-wide ban on all services related to cryptocurrencies. Despite this restriction, China still ranks among the top 10 largest countries in terms of the adoption of digital assets. In addition to this, mining activities in China have persisted after a negative time that ensued after the adoption of the ban.
As of November 11, according to the data provided by the cryptocurrency analytics portal Bitrawr, there were a total of 65 reachable Bitcoin nodes in China. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market lost $180 billion in market worth, prompting a technical analyst named Matthew Hyland to critique its interconnection. According to Hyland, this interconnectedness is what caused the FTX liquidity issue to spread to the rest of the industry.