Earlier this week, the bitcoin community was shocked when a digital wallet containing about $ 1 billion worth of bitcoin – believed to be proceeds from the dark web drug market that has now closed Silk Road – was struck by a fish. Identity cleaning personnel. Now, the people responsible for cleaning up the funds have revealed themselves: it is the US government.
The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had seized the contents of the wallet as part of a civil foreclosure aimed at the Silk Road. The government said it retrieved about 70,000 bitcoins with the help of an anonymous hacker, whose identity the government knew but who was simply referred to as “Person X”; in court documents.
“Person X” allegedly hacked the Silk Road payment system in 2012 or 2013. The government says that Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road, is currently serving a life sentence. 40 years because of his role in the site, “Person X is threatened for the return of crypto,” but anonymous hacker refused. On November 3, Person X agreed to transfer bitcoin to the US government and help transfer the money. It is not clear whether Individual X will be arrested or how their cooperation has been achieved.
In a press release, US Attorney David L. Anderson hailed the operation as a great government success. “Silk Road is the most infamous online crime market of its day,” said Anderson. “The successful prosecution of the founder of Silk Road in 2015 left a multi-billion dollar question open. Where did the money go? The foreclosure complaint today answers at least this open question. $ 1 billion of the proceeds from this crime is now in the possession of the United States. “
The Justice Department said Silk Road was the “largest and most sophisticated criminal market” on the Internet, operating from 2011 to 2013 before being taken offline by the FBI. The US government estimates that the site generated about 600,000 bitcoin in commissions during this period. About 175,000 of these were seized when Ulbricht was arrested and the site closed in October 2013.
The Justice Department has not said what it plans to do with $ 1 billion of newly confiscated bitcoin, but it has previously auctioned similar cryptocurrency purchases. Such a sale is treated like any other civil foreclosure, reported The Wall Street Journal, with the profit kept by the agency and added to its budget.