US DOJ Seizes Over 50K BTC Related to Silk Road Marketplace

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said Monday that authorities seized 50,676 bitcoins linked to the dark web marketplace Silk Road in November. The BTC amount was originally seized around a year ago, on November 9, 2021, and was valued at around $3.4 billion at the time.

Bitcoin was worth $3.36 billion when it was discovered. Now it’s worth $1.04 billion. In November, that was the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date, but has since been surpassed by a seizure of 70,000 bitcoins in February following a hack at cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.

In the Silk Road Marketplace case, the coins were found at addresses associated with James Bell in Georgia. The FBI also found $661,900 in cash and various precious metals. Chung pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2012, according to a Justice Department statement Monday.

“This case shows that we will not stop chasing this money, no matter how subtly it is hidden, even the circuit board at the bottom of a popcorn can,”

Williams said in the statement.

Silk Road was an illegal dark web marketplace that operated between 2011 and 2013 and primarily used Bitcoin as a payment method. The site collapsed following the arrest of its operator, Ross Ulbricht, who is serving a double life sentence and 40 years in prison without parole.

In 2014, US law enforcement auctioned several confiscated bitcoins, with 50,000 coins being sold for $20 million, and a few months earlier, 30,000 coins were auctioned. According to the Justice Department, Zhong rigged Silk Road’s withdrawal system by triggering 140 transactions in quick succession and tricking the system into crediting Bitcoin to multiple external wallets.