The DOJ Is Liquidating its Seized Silk Highway Bitcoin Stash


Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. authorities has begun liquidating the bitcoin it seized from Silk Highway exploiter James Zhong.
  • The DOJ already offered 9,861 BTC on March 14, netting $215.5 million.
  • It plans on promoting the remaining 41,490 BTC in 4 installments over the course of the 12 months.

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On-chain analysts seen initially of the month that the U.S. authorities was transferring funds it had seized from Silk Highway exploiter James Zhong. It seems that the DOJ was maneuvering to promote a few of the stash.

Dumping Silk Highway Bitcoin

The U.S. authorities is promoting a few of its bitcoin holdings.

A brand new submitting from the USA Division of Justice signifies that a few of the bitcoin seized by authorities from Silk Highway exploiter James Zhong has already been offered.

In keeping with the doc, the federal government held at one level a complete of 51,351 BTC (price roughly $1.4 billion at as we speak’s costs) in connection to Silk Highway—the vast majority of which got here from Zhong. Of those holdings, 9,861 BTC had been offered on March 14, netting the DOJ over $215.5 million. The submitting states that the federal government paid roughly $215,738 in charges for the transaction. It plans to promote the remaining 41,490 BTC ($1.1 billion) in 4 extra installments over the course of the calendar 12 months—although it should wait till Zhong’s sentencing to liquidate the second batch. 

Zhong is accused of defrauding darknet market Silk Highway by exploiting the platform’s withdrawal mechanism in September 2012. U.S. authorities managed to grab Zhong’s stash of fifty,676 BTC in November 2021. Zhong pleaded responsible to 1 rely of wire fraud in November 2022. Although he faces as much as 20 years in jail, he lately requested the court docket to spare him jail time, on account of his troublesome childhood, autism, and the truth that his crime was victimless. He’s scheduled for sentencing on April 14.

It’s extremely probably that the federal government used Coinbase to promote its 9,861 BTC. On-chain analysts seen initially of March that wallets related to seized Silk Highway funds had moved roughly 49,000 BTC to numerous recent addresses. One among these addresses was recognized as belonging to crypto change Coinbase; it acquired 9,825 BTC on March 7. 

The DOJ’s use of Coinbase is atypical, as the federal government has traditionally most well-liked liquidating seized digital property via public auctions. 

Disclosure: On the time of writing, the creator of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and a number of other different crypto property.

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