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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A Billion-Dollar Bitcoin Stash Owned By Silk Road Seized By the Feds

Ars reported this Wednesday that there was a transfer of around $1 billion in bitcoin straight out of a wallet. But the identity of the party was under anonymity- which soon came out to be the Department of Justice. The transfer was linked to the Silk Road crime bazaar, which was shut down in 2013 by the DoJ, and which sent its founder, Ross Ulbricht, behind bars. 

What Is the Silk Road?

But after the founder of Silk Road was prosecuted, the next big question that was on everybody’s lips was- where did all that money go? David Anderson, the US Attorney for this case has spoken about this as he mentioned that around part of the money was already in the possession of the US government. $1 billion from these criminal proceeds have been secured already. The rest needs to be discovered fast. 

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In cyber history, Ross Ulbricht and his company have been quite infamous in their criminal dealings. They hosted their services on the anonymous Dark Web, where their services brought both buyers, and sellers together. The company dealt in anything from fake IDs, to drugs, to any sort of illicit goods. The US attorneys mentioned that the company had around a thousand dealers, as well as over 100,000 buyers. The civil complaint filed by the US attorneys stated that the Silk Road had generated over 9.5 million bitcoins, while collecting commissions from the sales of over 600,000 bitcoins. 

The complaint on Thursday comes around 5 years since the conviction of Ulbricht. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation arm had played a huge role in tracking down this enmeshed scheme to discover all the recipients to whom these proceeds belonged. The seizure then came a couple of days later, when analysts of blockchains found out that there was someone who had transferred around $975 million out of one account that had regular dealings with Silk Road. Interestingly, this wallet had been silent for close to 5 years- when it was the fourth biggest wallet on Earth. 

Silk road
Silk road

Enter Individual X Who Transferred From the Silk Road Account

The complaint would sound like something that came straight out of a thriller- as the hacker was someone anonymous who removed a huge account from the coffers of Silk Road. As the investigation started, it was discovered that Individual X was quite capable of hacking into the Silk Road and also gained entry inside the main hub of the criminal syndicate. This Individual X then stole the cryptocurrency from this wallet, and moved it into their own wallet. As it goes, the owner Ulbricht was quite aware of the hack, as he threatened the hacker to return the money. 

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In a twist of fate, the hacker didn’t return the bitcoin to Ulbricht. Rather, they signed a Consent and Agreement to Forfeiture with the US Attorney’s office and agreed to hand the funds over. 

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