El Salvador Has Thousands More Bitcoins Than Previously Known

The Central American nation moved $400 million in BTC into a cold storage wallet this week.

AccessTimeIconMar 15, 2024 at 12:43 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 15, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. UTC
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  • El Salvador moved more than 5,000 BTC into a cold wallet this week.
  • The disclosure by President Nayib Bukele nearly doubles the country's known stash of the digital asset.

Bitcoin-forward Central American nation El Salvador this week moved $400 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) – "a big chunk" – into a cold wallet, according to its President, Nayib Bukele.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Bukele referred to the new setup as "our first #Bitcoin piggy bank." El Salvador stored the cold wallet "in a physical vault within our national territory," he said, including a photo of a wallet that held 5,689.68 BTC, worth $411 million at Thursday's prices.

A bitcoin treasury of that size places El Salvador's holdings far higher than previously believed. Even on Thursday, public trackers place the nation's trove at less than 3,000 BTC ($205 million). Earlier this week Buckle teased that the country was not simply buying BTC but also getting it by selling passports, through currency conversions for businesses, from mining and from government services.

The revelation represents the first time that Bukele has tied his nation's holdings to a specific address. He previously relied solely on social media posts to make claims about the size of his trove, providing occasional updates whenever El Salvador bought more.

El Salvador became the first country to purchase bitcoin as a treasury asset in September 2021, when a single coin cost around $52,000. On Thursday BTC prices were north of $72,000, though in the past 24 hours the asset has traded above $73,000 and as low as $68,000.

The on-chain transfers into El Salvador's cold wallet occurred over the past week, though the majority arrived Thursday. Most of the bitcoin held in that wallet came from Bitfinex, according to Arkham Intelligence.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

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