More than seven It has been many years since Ross Ulbricht was arrested in the science fiction section of a San Francisco library and charged with running a drug market on a vast dark network known as the Silk Road. But when the Feds put their hands on Ulbricht’s laptop that day, they found the key to unlock only a fraction of the bitcoins he had amassed during his bustling years of black-market drug trafficking. Silk Road. Today, the Department of Justice finally revealed where a multi-billion dollar treasure of the Silk Road ended: stolen by a mysterious hacker, and now being collected by the U.S. Treasury Department. Hold.
DOJ today filed a civil foreclosure complaint of more than 69,370 bitcoins ̵1; and other variations of the cryptocurrency – seized on November 3 from an anonymous person whose court documents refer solely to the Individuals. X. According to the criminal investigation unit of the IRS, Person X successfully hacked Silk Road between May 2012 and April 2013, stealing that ample amount of drugs from the site’s bitcoin addresses. web dark before Ulbricht collapsed in October 2013. The IRS said it had finally tracked down an attacker who had stolen nearly 70,000 silk roads. bitcoin – currently worth more than $ 1 billion – and allows law enforcement to control those funds.
“The successful prosecution of the founder of Silk Road in 2015 left the question of billions of dollars open. Where did the money go?” US Attorney David Anderson wrote in a statement announcing the seizure. “The foreclosure complaint today answers this open-ended question at least in part. $ 1 billion of this crime money is now in the possession of the United States.”
Crypto analysts first spotted the movement of a $ 1 billion money collection on the night of November 3rd. The wallet has long been displayed on the bitcoin blockchain and discussed on the But hacker forums are still not portable for anyone who doesn’t have a secret key to spend. it. While it was not clear at the time who the funds belonged or why they were transferred on Tuesday, Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic at the time connected the wallet to Silk Road: In May 2012, 70,000 coins were transferred from Silk Road to two other addresses.
In April 2013, those coins were merged at a single address, where they remained mostly dormant until this week. Even then, it remains unclear whether Ulbricht will move some of the crypto around. However, by the end of that year, the 101 coins that moved from this address to the now defunct bitcoin exchange were BTC-e. At that time, Ross Ulbricht was imprisoned. Even if it was his money, he would not have access to the keys needed to move it.
The government confiscation complaint gives the answer to that mystery: The address to which the coins were transferred in 2013 did not belong to Ulbricht but to a hacker who stole them. With the help of blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, IRS investigators found 54 transactions that moved more than 70,000 bitcoins from Silk Road addresses – transactions that Elliptic said happened in 2012 – to two more addresses that Elliptic flagged on Tuesday. Transactions are for full sums and none appear in Silk Road’s own diary on supplier purchases or withdrawals, suggesting that they may have been due to Person X’s referral. stolen spoils.
In fact, the confiscated complaint claimed that they found evidence that Ulbricht tried to identify the online character of someone who somehow hacked the Silk Road and took the money. cost $ 354,000 at the time – and threatens Person X to try to force them to return money. (The complaint does not explain how the Silk Road violation occurred or where investigators became aware of those threats, but both may have been recorded on Ulbricht’s seized laptop. or on Silk Road’s seized server.) Person X appears to have ignored Ulbricht’s threats and kept up these coins long after Ulbricht was arrested, tried and convicted. quietly watching them explode in value in the years since.