Cyber Crime

DoJ seizes $1 billion in Bitcoin linked to Silk Road marketplace

The Feds were able to identify 54 undetected cryptocurrency transactions linked to the seized Silk Road marketplace leading them to seize Bitcoin.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the seizure of $1 billion in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The DoJ claims that the funds were linked to the now dysfunctional dark web marketplace Silk Road.

It is worth noting that Silk Road was taken down, and its founder Ross Ulbricht was arrested around seven years back in October 2013. It could be termed as the largest seizure of bitcoins in the history of DoJ – Ulbricht is serving a life sentence in US prison.

Reportedly, the seizure occurred on Tuesday after observers noted that a digital wallet at the address “1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx” transferred 69,369 bitcoins (roughly $1.04 billion) in a rather mysterious manner.

The DoJ revealed on Thursday that it had filed a civil complaint to confiscate the Bitcoin. Apart from Bitcoin, the other cryptocurrencies found in the transaction included Bitcoin S.V., Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Gold. 

In its official statement, the Justice Department stated that it sought a civil action to permanently forfeit cryptocurrency in California’s Northern District. The U.S. attorney David L. Anderson stated that Silk Road was the “most notorious online criminal marketplace” back in the day.

After the marketplace’s founder Ross Ulbricht was prosecuted successfully in 2015, everyone wanted to know where did the money go. DoJ’s complaint about forfeiture reflects that at least some amount from these criminal activities is now in the custody of federal investigators in the U.S.

Regarding the missing bitcoins, it is alleged that an identified hacker, known by the alias Individual X, stole the crypto from Silk Road between May 2012 and April 2013. The hacker kept the stolen crypto until the funds were seized this week.

It is worth noting that at the time when Ulbricht’s trial was underway, the total worth of stolen bitcoin was $13.4 million, while today, it amounts to a staggering $1 billion.

The DoJ didn’t specify its plans to use the newly-seized crypto; however, in another such case, the department opted to auction the funds off.

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