May 26, 2024
U.S. Department of Justice Secures $3 Billion in Confiscated Cryptocurrencies from Silk Road
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U.S. Department of Justice Secures $3 Billion in Confiscated Cryptocurrencies from Silk Road

The U.S. Department of Justice has completed the legal process of obtaining 69,370 bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies seized from the now-defunct Silk Road platform. The August court decision approving the forfeiture has officially taken effect after recent filings with the federal appeals court.

The confiscated crypto assets, valued at over $3 billion, were previously under the control of government agencies for years. In 2013, an unnamed party who allegedly accessed the holdings by bypassing Silk Road’s security voluntarily handed them over. Court documents list Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht as a defendant in the forfeiture case, along with two other claimants, with the U.S. government named as the plaintiff.

Silk Road was permanently shut down in 2013 following an FBI investigation. Authorities stated that the site facilitated the illegal sale of controlled substances, weapons, and other illicit merchandise. Its accused creator, Ulbricht, was convicted on charges of money laundering and operating a criminal business.

This year, Ulbricht relinquished ownership claims on the seized bitcoins and agreed to forgo an additional $3 billion in allegedly pirated crypto funds. The agreement aimed to reimburse a portion of the purported Silk Road revenue.

U.S. officials have held the bitcoin stash since 2013, when it was entrusted by an unidentified party. In 2020, the Justice Department pursued civil forfeiture based on claims of unlawful ownership.

The finalization of forfeiture terms follows recent transfers of the contested cryptocurrency from long-held wallets into two government-controlled accounts, marking the first movements since 2015.

Image by MichaelWuensch from Pixabay

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