The U.S. Justice Department released a statement, yesterday night, which disclosed that it seized over $1 billion worth of bitcoin associated with a shady online marketplace – Silk Road.
Thousands of BTCs worth $1 billion were seized by the United States law enforcement agencies this week, in what the Justice Department disclosed was the largest seizure of cryptocurrency in the history of the agency.
The United States government will now try to prove in court the items are subjected to forfeiture. In the past, the government has later auctioned off forfeited cryptocurrencies.
In a report credited to CNBC, the U.S. Attorney David Anderson of the Northern District of California said in a civil complaint on Thursday,
“Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day. The successful prosecution of Silk Road’s founder in 2015 left open a billion-dollar question. Where did the money go?”
What you should know
Silk Road is a shady marketplace, where individuals use the online platform for buying illegal stuff that includes hard drugs, child pornography, malware, and use bitcoin in paying for such transactions.
The platform had earlier been shut down by U.S. federal authorities in 2013 and its Founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison two years later.
How did the crypto seizure happen?
The U.S. enforcement agencies were able to make such seizure through a unit within the Internal Revenue Service that specializes in tracking virtual currency transactions prevalent when using cryptos.
The Internal Revenue Service agents were able to identify 54 new bitcoin transactions executed on the shady platform.