Federal government seizes $ 1 billion in bitcoin they say was stolen from Silk Road

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The Justice Department said it was preparing to confiscate the 69,370 bitcoins – worth more than $ 15,000 each – for the benefit of the government, according to court documents. The bitcoins were once owned by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

Bitcoin was the only currency allowed on Silk Road, which authorities said was used for criminal transactions, including the sale of drugs and firearms as well as money laundering.

The FBI closed Silk Road in October 2013 and arrested Ulbricht. He was convicted in February 2015 on various charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hacking.

“Silk Road was the most well-known online criminal market of its time,” said US Attorney David Anderson. “The success of the 2015 lawsuit against the founder of Silk Road has left a billion dollar issue open. Where did the money go? Today’s confiscation complaint at least partially answers this open question. One billion dollars of these criminal proceeds are now in the possession of the United States. . ”

The record indicates that the seized bitcoins were stolen from Silk Road in 2013 by a hacker identified only as “Person X” in the court document. The stolen bitcoins were worth around $ 14 million at the time, or just over $ 200 for each bitcoin. But the value of bitcoin has skyrocketed since then, bringing the value to nearly $ 1 billion today.

The record indicates that Ulbricht learned of Individual X’s online identity and threatened Individual X, demanding the return of the cryptocurrency soon after the money was stolen. Individual X did not return the cryptocurrency but kept it and did not spend it. Individual X consented to the confiscation of the funds on Tuesday, according to the filing.

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