The web portal that displays a list of the alleged owners of all the bitcoins in the world has been widely shared since China cracked down on crypto trading last week. The web portal claims that the Chinese government owns 194,775 bitcoins that are said to stem from the Plustoken crypto scam. The problem with list sources is that verification of ownership is very inconclusive and doesn’t offer much of anything other than speculation.
Does China or Bulgaria Really Have Billions of Bitcoin?
Since China released some statements regarding citizens transacting with cryptocurrency via foreign exchanges and stating that the operation is illegal, a web page has appeared with a list called “Who Holds All Bitcoin?” It was shared on all social media and cryptocurrency forums.
The reason people share it is that they expect China to ban bitcoins, while at the same time hoarding 194,775 bitcoins from the Plustoken crypto scam. The list of who owns all the bitcoin also provides a link to the sources, and the Chinese source stems from an article published by theblockcrypto.com on November 27, 2020.
The source is an article written by Wolfie Zhao that calls the editorial “Chinese police confiscated $4.2 billion in cryptocurrency from BlueStoken Ponzi campaign.” The article also contains a sentencing order detailing the case and listing the conspirators involved.
While the article and the judgment order indicate that the Chinese government has confiscated various amounts of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other tokens, this does not necessarily mean that the Chinese government still holds these crypto assets. There is no conclusive evidence that the Chinese government owns approximately 194,775 BTC today.
The Chinese government will have to prove ownership, it won’t, and there is no way of knowing whether or not the nation-state has sold the assets. It may at least be possible for blockchain watchdogs (blockchain distributors) to get a glimpse into whether or not it is worth considering. The Chinese government will either have to make a public display and move the coins so the world can see, or prove ownership of the funds using the private key and verify the signature.
If the Chinese government source is considered legitimate, then people can also assume that Bulgaria holds 213,519 bitcoins. There are a lot of articles regarding the mystery behind the Bulgarian government’s confiscation of these coins, but to this day, it is still debated whether or not they are still owned by Bulgaria.
Evidence indicates that it is very likely that Bulgaria sold stocks worth 200,000 bitcoins, yet some still believe that they are owned by the Bulgarian government. It is also assumed that the government of Ukraine owns 46,351 bitcoins but this number only comes from public disclosure forms drawn from Ukrainian civil servants.
Encryption Verification and Proof of Reserves
There is no way to verify whether the Chinese government or the Bulgarian government still owns any of these bitcoins that were seized from the criminal acts. Again, either China or Bulgaria will have to prove their ownership in a public way or prove they are able to move this money. Countries can sign a message associated with a specific address containing the said amount of bitcoin, but no government will.
Some sources in the list of who owns all the bitcoin Derived from tweets and other articles related to the likes of Tim Draper and Michael Saylor. Unless these individuals prove their ownership by transferring said amounts of bitcoin or sign a message associated with the private key of the crypto-asset, the list of these people with approximate bitcoin holdings is meaningless.
Ownership and real proof of reserves is very easy in the bitcoin world with a private key and signature. One day, more proof of reserves in bitcoin will likely be relied upon, by signature, as the years go by, because you can’t take a government word for it or someone on social media says they own thousands of bitcoins. Bitcoin supporter Nick Carter He discusses the importance of proving reserves in an editorial that highlights:
Proof of reserves + Proof of liability = Proof of solvency
In his introduction to the topic of Proof of Reserves, Carter notes that “if there is one thing I can do to improve the industry, it would be to convince every custodial service provider in the crypto space to adopt a routine Proof of Reserve program.” Reserves can be demonstrated with bitcoin (and other crypto assets) by any individual or organization in existence today. Without proof of reserves, everything else is just speculation, rumors and unconfirmed evidence.
This will include every cryptocurrency who does not publish proof of a hold method or a plaintiff who simply says they own an amount of bitcoin. Just as we will not accept any individual claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto without documented cryptographic proof, the same can be said for the lists of alleged bitcoin owners. The truth is that without cryptographic evidence, whoever owns the bitcoin listing can be questioned, dismissed as mere speculation.
What do you think of listings of bitcoin owners who claim to show specific ownership and approximate amounts of bitcoin owned by individuals or institutions? Tell us what you think about it in the comments section below.
photo credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wikicommons, Who Owns All Bitcoin? List via kevinrooke.com/bitcoin, Bitcoin Treasury Hodlings via ecoinometrics,
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