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US Seized More Than $1B in Silk Road–Linked Bitcoins, Seeks Forfeiture

The U.S. is suing for the forfeiture of thousands of bitcoins, totaling more than $1 billion, that it recently seized, the Department of Justice said Thursday. The seizure on Tuesday, tied to early darknet market Silk Road, is the largest the U.S. has ever conducted, the DOJ said.

Court documents reveal the seized funds include over 69,370 bitcoin and nearly equivalent amounts of forked cryptos bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin gold (BTG) and bitcoin satoshi vision (BSV). Prosecutors say an unnamed hacker stole the trove from Silk Road and moved them to a wallet where they sat from April 2013 until the Tuesday seizure. The individual consented to the government seizure on Tuesday. The news comes days after blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic reported that a wallet possibly belonging to the Silk Road marketplace moved almost $1 billion worth of bitcoin earlier this week.

Earlier this week, Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson speculated the coins may have been moved by imprisoned Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht or a Silk Road vendor.
Ulbricht – who operated under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts – operated the darknet website from 2011 until his arrest in 2013 and is currently serving a life sentence. Since the coins have sat dormant in the wallet for years, unavailable for trading, their confiscation appears unlikely to have played any role in the recent run-up in bitcoin’s price. On the contrary, if the government were to auction them as it typically does, the coins could rejoin the circulating supply.

US Seized More Than $1B in Silk Road–Linked Bitcoins, Seeks Forfeiture, CoinDesk, Nov 6

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