1 per cent of all Bitcoin held by Chinese authorities

Chinese Communist Party becomes major holder of leading decentralised currency

One per cent of the total Bitcoin supply is in the hands of Chinese police, according to The Block.

The sizable haul of 194,774 Bitcoin, equivalent to around $3.1bn at the time of writing, came about as a result of the notorious PlusToken scandal.

A Ponzi scheme disguised as a high-yield investment programme and non-existent cryptocurrency, PlusToken promised users stunning returns if they ‘bought’ at least $500 of cryptoassets through its website.

The fraudsters conducting the scam unexpectedly closed PlusToken down in late 2019, leaving the message “Sorry we have run”.

Their time on the run proved short-lived, however, with Chinese authorities arresting 109 people associated with the scheme by the beginning of August.

The scale of the project has only just become clear via the recent publication of a judgement made by the Jiangsu Yancheng Intermediate People's Court earlier this month.

In addition to the astonishing amount of Bitcoin, the scammers also took off with 833,083 ETH worth $420m and 0.7 per cent of current circulating, 1.4 million LTC, 487 million XRP, 79,581 BCH, 213,724 USDT, 74,167 DASH, 27.6 million EOS and 6 billion Dogecoins.

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The court ruled that "the seized digital currencies will be processed pursuant to laws and the proceeds and gains will be forfeited to the national treasury."

Fifteen people have been convicted thus far, according to the filing, with sentences between two to eleven years in prison and with fines ranging from $100,000 to $1 million (£750m, €840m).

By late-afternoon Friday, Bitcoin traded down 1.8 per cent at $16,768, 9 per cent lower than it started the week at.  

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