Bulgaria Government Shocked To Discover It Owns $3 Billion In Bitcoin

Bulgaria’s GDP is about $52.4 billion (2016), so it is quite a shock that the Bulgarian Government is sitting on an approximate $3 billion worth of Bitcoins seized in an anti-corruption operation back in May.

Putting this into a little more glaring context, Bulgaria is holding 18% of the national debt in bitcoins...

Bulgarian law enforcement jointly worked with the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELC), a regional organization comprised of 12 member states, to bust a sophisticated organized-crime network, arresting twenty-three Bulgarian nationals and seizing a total of 213,519 bitcoins.


SELC described the organized-crime scheme as the hacking of Bulgarian Custom’s computers and allowing those associated with the group to skip fees for importing goods into the country. To make it work, the group recruited corrupt Customs officers to upload a virus into government machines, so that hackers could establish remote access.

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.  

Further, SELC provided details of how the operation was conducted, involving a large-scale search of “more than 100 addresses, suspects, and vehicles.” Out of the 23 suspects arrested, 5 of them were Bulgarian Customs officers. Police seized “equipment, devices for communication, computers, tablets, and bank documents.”

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. 23 suspects were arrested, 5 of them acting as Bulgarian Customs officers. As result of this criminal activity the damages recorded by the Customs Agency, only for year 2015, is around 10 million Leva.

Here is where things get interesting... Police also seized 213,519 bitcoins, at the time, worth $500 million. As of writing this article, the amount seized, is now worth approximately 3,676,583,661, according to CoinDesk.

As well, up to now were found in the virtual space bitcoin wallets of the main suspects with a total value of 213,519 bitcoins. As a reference, the value of one bitcoin is rating to 2354 USD. The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed.  

SELC explained why the criminals used bitcoin,

The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed.

What remains a mystery to most, is what the Bulgarian government will do with the seized bitcoins? As mentioned in the beginning, the national debt could certainly be reduced. Have we just discovered a large seller that is ready to pour cold water on the party?



BaBaBouy ParticularlySt… Sat, 12/09/2017 - 14:20 Permalink

PS... The Gbmt would be negligent if they didn't liquidate asap as they cannot be seen as "Gaming" with the PUBLIC FUNDS...PS2... This is a very poor Country...PS3... Whoever the Bitcoinz Whales are they better start Buying, BTC down almost 2 Grand ...PS4... Eventually all Will Run to GOLD Anyway...PS5... They can get about 11 ozs PHYS GOLD per BTC Still...

In reply to by ParticularlySt…

Tapeworm BaBaBouy Sat, 12/09/2017 - 17:55 Permalink

"PS5... They can get about 11 ozs PHYS GOLD per BTC"  As iseless is a physical meta; that isn't even an half-assed catalyst, it seems as thogh the old metal is more secure; that is if you have a place to get at it when needed. Getting it when needed (as in the hem of a garment is so 1930's as it is laughable. The metal is worth what a reliable quote service says. Then you have to have a dealer that actually can pay. 

In reply to by BaBaBouy

Peterman333 BaBaBouy Sat, 12/09/2017 - 20:06 Permalink

PS4... Eventually all Will Run to GOLD Anyway.yep, how much will it be then ? Probably very quickly shoot up to $50k an ounce.But in my estimation this crypto party is far, far from over, all into the new year spring and early summer before this thing bursts, still time to make some money I think.

In reply to by BaBaBouy

3LockBox RAT005 Sat, 12/09/2017 - 14:02 Permalink

For something proclaimed to be so secure and so anonymous it sure seems to be seized by governments a lot.Many of the proclamations that started this craze have born out to be simply false.Kind of sounds very much like what the government does to get us on new programs.i.e Federal Taxes, The Federal Reserve System, Obamacare, etc. etc.Perhaps a cashless society target by 2018? Seems to be working out marvelously.Sooner or later after enough gains have been racked up the thieving gov will come a calling and have the IRS just stick their mits in or freeze it leaving you at their mercy to prove everything and pay up.All you Crypto alcolytes are just to blinded by greed to let that sink in.

In reply to by RAT005

Renfield 3LockBox Sat, 12/09/2017 - 14:42 Permalink

<<Kind of sounds very much like what the government does to get us on new programs.>>+1. Have you noticed the aggressive marketing language in some BTC articles, that seems to be directed especially at goldbugs?BTC 'hoarding'... BTC as 'store of value' (an absurd concept for such a new currency)... BTC as 'outside the system'... BTC 'mining'... and so on? Over the last year, as someone who values gold, I've felt 'marketed at' and it's been a personal turn-off. Looks to me like some BTC pushers out there really, really want goldbugs in particular to think of their less than 10-year-old currency as some kind of valid gold 'alternative'.BTC may or may not turn out to be a good long-term investment. But it is no equivalent to gold, and it is ridiculous even to make the comparison, even if they do insist on calling their process 'mining'.It's getting to the point where I'm so oversaturated from all this aggressive marketing that I'm really backing off any trust for BTC at all, and I don't have much to start with, only b/c it's too new and VERY untested as a real-world currency. Check back again in 20 years and if it's even still around, by then it will have earned a LITTLE trust. Cryptos & blockchain may be the way of the future but nothing guarantees that BTC itself will still be around, even for that short time.Been watching BTC since 2009, and happy for every BTC buyer & winner out there. Good for everyone who has made a great short-term investment that may (or may not) turn out well in the longer term, and who's avoided being one of those whose BTC was lost, stolen, or confiscated.But this aggressive 'goldbug' language of so many marketing articles, is IMHO looking more and more like a rather desperate agenda. TBH it looks a lot like yet another herding attempt. Just as you say, very much what the corporate 'government' does to get us on new programs.

In reply to by 3LockBox

PolishAmerican Renfield Sat, 12/09/2017 - 19:54 Permalink

BTC will collapse under own lack of scalability. MASSIBVELY DECENTRALIZED SYSTEMS require MASSIVE INCREASES IN COMPUTING POWER, NETWORK SPEED AND ENERGY that we will NEVER HAVE. to alow blockchains to power ALL. The crazy MINDLESS rush will render BTC uselessvery fast The entire BTC network is CHOKING itself under 7tx/s it is not scalable and BTC will be UNUSABLE. NO EMP from North Korea needed when it needs energy of SWEDEN to operate at INITIAL SEED STAGE of blockchain as you claim.... stupid VISA does 3000tx/s...(centralized systems do not need that much energy - opposite of that!) it would take energy of the SUN to run all those things blockchains will run people claim! Bitcoin is NOT SCALEABALE to where they want it to be for ENERGY and protocol reasons. so long as people can wait 24h, 48h, 78h...later 7 weeks for txs to settle on BTC network..it will grow...at a point they will consider it illiquid and useless. GOLD can sit in your pocket. no energy needed. Why? precisely..it was the energy spent to create it billions of years ago that sits in its density and it needs no more ENERGY. BITCOIN unlike GOLD requires CONSTANT ENERGY INPUT to operate the network. EVEN if we have NUKE PLANTS generating almost free energy in backyards... it will never have the same ENERGY in its network as GOLD has. Basic physics. So to make BTC go to the level of GOLD here is how much energy you need to put into the NETWORK to make it on par: https://www.reddit.com/r/DaystromInstitute/comments/2xzfzc/how_much_ener...? Bottom line. It is all an illusion and a deriviative of ENERGY put into an ASSET. The BTC network is not scaling and RIGHT NOW while seldom and few USE it other than BUY and KEEP, it requires energy use of SWEDEN TO operate. If ALL as you claim runs on blockchains no civilization will be EVER ABLE to produce energy to support it. This also explains the value of GOLD. ENERGY USED to produce it (not mine as this is miniscule discovery energy not PRODUCTION of GOLD) is IMMENESE. NO civilization will ever be able to produce GOLD - unless we can SHUT DOWN STARS. SO we would have to reach a point where we can tap energy sources beyond SCI-FI. BTC will collapse. Did I ride it and am I also riding it? Sure I am. But exchanges shutdown show the demand side problem of traffic... this is not even a big deal...that is NOTHING compred to the block chain problem of energy usage on the back side and how SLOW it is getting and how it is CHOKING. Scalability problem will render entire network defunct. sooner or later. THis just does not scale. This is the most simplicit way of explaining why this cannot work long term. It all defies basic laws of physics and anyone understanding software and protocol speeds needed to have a functional networks understands this. You will see its value when it will take months to settle TXs how useful bitcoin is and when exits start getting crowded Madoff will seem like a nice man. 

In reply to by Renfield

Antifaschistische Renfield Sun, 12/10/2017 - 14:09 Permalink

you NAILED it.   I love cryptos....even though I don't think they'll fulfill the libertarian fantacy world I live in...I still love them.But Bitcoin is being PUMPED big time by BIG money insiders. (see Max Kaiser's NON stop bitcoin informercial on RT).  That dude used to be fun to listen to.  Now...just a solid infomercial.  His wife even knows he's embarassing himself.I'm guessing ZH is getting PAID for the marketing BITCOIN articles that LOOK LIKE "reporting".  And perhaps...getting paid a lot.

In reply to by Renfield

Midas 3LockBox Sat, 12/09/2017 - 15:11 Permalink

A--  You hear about what was seized.  You don't hear about that which wasn't.B--  Governments are rapacious and will come calling for their pound of flesh no matter the monetary system.  They will accept gold, real estate, art, coke, lambos, diamonds, etc...C--  I don't recall BTC being ever billed as a method to avoid paying taxes.  The initial proposal focused mostly on creating a crypto currency based somewhat on the properties of gold, e.g. not regulated by a central bank, finite, and fungible.  The IRS is attacking BTC the same way they have been attacking gold for decades.  All of your critiques apply equally well to gold, but I loves me some gold.D--  I have heard the argument that you shouldn't hold gold, because if the government wants to they can confiscate it.  I say make them do it.  Don't back down just because of a threat.  Let them show the world whose side they are on and how they schlep for bankers.I will admit that there is not as much privacy in BTC as I originally thought in regards to the ability to track BTC from wallet to wallet on the public ledger.  I guess this is a consequence of the ability to verify the validity of all transactions.  My wallet is still somewhat private, but that could probably be a weakness.  I am, however, amazed by the ability to take any sum of money into cold storage and restore it with a pass phrase.  I don't know of any other system that will do that. 

In reply to by 3LockBox

zebra77a Midas Sat, 12/09/2017 - 18:49 Permalink

70% of gold was never seized during the Gold Confiscation Order of 1933.. Lots of phyzz was buried everywhere.. There are 50 public exchanges and anyone who runs the full bitcoin node wallet can 'dry paper' $100's of millions onto a paper napkin in an hour for near free..China threatened by escaping gdp shut down all exchanges only to see them repop up in 3 months in Japan. Now direct peer to peer bitcoin transfer software has popped up.$300 billion in market cap it will never be shutdown and has become the defacto wealth escape mechanism - its true value and utilty..

In reply to by Midas

BeanusCountus RAT005 Sat, 12/09/2017 - 19:30 Permalink

It's actually almost exactly the same if you think about it. Question to everyone here: How are they in the possession of Bulgaria.gov? So they find the accounts and passwords? How would these have been "held" by the bad guys where they could lose control of them to .gov?

In reply to by RAT005

adr Billy the Poet Sat, 12/09/2017 - 13:48 Permalink

I supposedly mined 100 Bitcoin back in late 2009 when I was overclocking my Nvidia card and competing on the 3D mark forum. You didn't mine to get Bitcoin, you mined to get a hashrate for bragging rights. Whatever happened with the wallet, it never synced at always showed a zero balance. I never kept up with the GPU race because it was too expensive. These early Bitcoin transfers are all part of the lost Bitcoin.Back then the blockchain had many different versions and it was constantly being overwritten. It didn't matter since the Bitcoin was essentially worthless. If you had a version of the Blockchain that differed from the others, the "committee" or really the distributed miners chose the blockchain that moved forward. If you were a single person contributing almost nothing to the total hashrate, you really had to voice on the direction of Bitcoin. 

In reply to by Billy the Poet

Exponere Mendaces adr Sat, 12/09/2017 - 18:03 Permalink

You need to understand what a "re-org" is. It happens all the time as the network communicates between nodes. The longest chain survives, orphans are pruned out.If you contribute nothing to the total hashing rate of the network, you get nothing in return - as far as block rewards.You really don't understand the technology very well, if at all.I suggest you look up Andreas on YouTube, he has a lot of newbie videos that you clearly need to watch a few hundred times. 

In reply to by adr