The US Department of Justice confiscated 69,370 bitcoins. At the current cryptocurrency rate of $15,323, it approximately equals $1,06 billion. It is the largest amount of cryptocurrency that the US authorities have ever confiscated.
The seized bitcoins belonged to the Silk Road’s founder, Ross Ulbricht. Silk Road is an online black-market best known for selling illegal drugs and weapons using bitcoins. Federal authorities shut down the marketplace in 2013. In 2015, Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht, with the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, was sentenced to life in prison for drug dealing and money laundering. About 175,000 bitcoins were seized from him, and it was less than half of the 600,000 bitcoins federal authorities believed the site received in commission.
“Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day,” US Attorney David Anderson of the Northern District of California said.
Fifty-four illegal Silk Road transactions were discovered that previously were unnoticed. At the same time, it turned out that a certain hacker stole the bitcoins obtained from these transactions in 2012 and 2013.
As a result, the funds were withdrawn from the user’s wallet, known as “Individual X.” According to US authorities, this is the same hacker who hacked the Silk Road darknet site. On November 3, he signed an agreement to transfer bitcoins to US law enforcement. On the same day, 69,370 bitcoins from 2013 were transferred to a new wallet. It was the first transfer of these funds since 2015. According to the American authorities, the seized bitcoins will be sold at an auction.