US Govt Moves $90 Million in Bitcoin, ETH From Estonian Scammers

Around dawn in the USA, Arkham Intelligence announced that the US administration had shifted around $90 million in Bitcoins and Ethereum, which were previously obtained from two Estonian suspects involved in a large-scale cryptocurrency scam and money laundering operation. This announcement sparked interest within the cryptocurrency sector, coming on the heels of the transfer of nearly $2 billion in Bitcoins linked to the notorious Silk Road marketplace.

According to Arkham Intel’s advanced monitoring system, the US government carried out several digital asset transfers about two hours ago. The transactions included moving 0.69 Bitcoins, equivalent to around $45,750, and a significant amount of 374 Bitcoins, approximately worth $24.8 million, to a newly discovered Bitcoin wallet (3GoRwyQvAJhX3conyuq355JiBD9FyfXAQe).

Moreover, an equivalent of $28.9 million in BTC (218.5 BTC) and ETH (4.567K) were transferred to the same wallet minutes ago. Specifically, this consisted of $14.49 million in BTC and $15.21 million in ETH. Notably, smaller amounts, including 0.0001 BTC and 0.5 BTC, were moved to a different wallet address (3LNW8R3AfDQgVCB9sQPwChyG47ktSjh3f3) just before this announcement was published.

US Govt Moves $90 Million in Bitcoin, ETH From Estonian Scammers

Arkham encounters fresh and unrecognized Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses. This discovery implies a tactical move for grouping resources together instead of a hasty sale of holdings.

Two Estonian men, Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turõgin, were apprehended in their homeland in October 2022 after being indicted on 18 counts by a grand jury in the Western District of Washington. The confiscated funds can be traced back to them.

The pair stood accused of masterminding a $575 million cryptocurrency scam through their businesses, HashFlare and Polybius Bank. HashFlare was a mining service for cryptocurrencies, while Polybius Bank was a nonexistent virtual bank that failed to pay out promised dividends to investors. Their intricate plan included shady rental contracts for fraudulent equipment and the use of dummy companies to launder the ill-gotten gains, which they then used to buy high-end real estate and luxury vehicles.

Last September, the Estonian administration granted the request for the transfer of Potapenko and Turõgin to the US authorities. The prime minister, Kaja Kallas, announced this action had been taken during a government meeting.

The US government’s transactions today mirror the past actions involving the Silk Road bitcoins. Specifically, 2,000 Bitcoin from the seized Silk Road stash were moved to a Coinbase digital wallet, while the rest were transferred to a government-owned wallet previously identified by Arkham.

The US government’s method for managing seized digital assets follows a consistent approach, with an initial focus on gathering and consolidating the assets prior to considering any further steps.

In the crypto world, Bitcoin’s price has kept a steady course, hovering around $66,000. The massive financial stakes and the government’s approach towards managing these digital assets have piqued the curiosity of many investors and onlookers in the cryptocurrency industry.

Contrary to common belief, it’s important to note that the US govt normally doesn’t sell Bitcoin or Ether at the open market. “The Silk Road US GOV coins FUD is literally just FUD. The government doesn’t slam market sell on public orderbooks. If it’s getting sold it either already or will be sold OTC/auction,” crypto analyst Byzantine General noted two days ago.

At press time, BTC traded at $66,311.

US Govt Moves $90 Million in Bitcoin, ETH From Estonian Scammers

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2024-04-04 15:04