Seized $2 Billion Silk Road Bitcoin Moved to Coinbase Wallet by US Government —Is It Selling Them Again?

By Giuliano De Leon

Apr 03, 2024 02:08 AM EDT

Seized $2 Billion Silk Road Bitcoin Moved to Coinbase Wallet by US Government —Is It Selling Them Again?
In this photo illustration, the Coinbase and Bitcoin logos are displayed on a phone screen on February 15, 2024 in San Anselmo, California.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Seized Silk Road Bitcoin worth $2 billion has been transferred by the US government to a Coinbase wallet. This activity was noticed late Tuesday morning, Apr. 2.

It was first identified by Arkham Intelligence: an intelligence platform that provides information regarding cryptocurrency market activities.

Seized $2 Billion Silk Road Bitcoin Moved to Coinbase Wallet

According to CoinDesk's latest report, the US government moved 30,175 Bitcoins to an unknown crypto wallet. As of writing, the price of Bitcoin is around $65,000.

This means that the transferred Bitcoins were seized from the infamous Silk Road marketplace. Bitcoin Magazine reported that the latest activity of the US government hints that it is liquidating the remaining Bitcoins it confiscated.

Although the crypto wallet used was an unidentified one, Arkham Intelligence tagged it as belonging to Coinbase: an American crypto exchange company.

In late 2022, the US government seized around 50,000 Bitcoins from the Silk Road marketplace. In March 2023, the government decided to unload over 9,800 BTCs worth $216 million.

This was done thanks to the US Marshals Service, which is the largest Bitcoin seller right now. The US Marshals assisted the government sell 195,000 confiscated Bitcoins to date.

Although many American lawmakers are trying to encourage the US Marshals Service to hold confiscated funds as a strategic asset, the agency still sells assets in criminal investigations in line with its mandate.

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US Government Already Sold Silk Road Bitcoins

Based on recent blockchain data from April 2, a wallet linked to the United States has been identified. The Justice Department has reportedly made a small transaction to a Coinbase Prime address, which could potentially be a test transaction.

Soon after, the wallet in question moved a staggering amount of 30,174 BTC, which is equivalent to around $2 billion at the time of reporting, to a different address. Internet investigators have successfully traced the DOJ wallet to the source of the Bitcoin, which was confiscated from James Zhong.

Zhong was found guilty of acquiring cryptocurrency from Silk Road in 2022 through illegal means.

In 2012, Zhong managed to steal a staggering amount of over 50,000 bitcoins from Silk Road. In 2021, authorities in the United States conducted a raid on his property and made an interesting discovery.

They found wallets with Bitcoin, including one that was hidden on a single-board computer, cleverly concealed under blankets in a popcorn tin.

A significant portion of the confiscated cryptocurrency was transferred to the address that handled over 30,000 BTC on April 2.

In March 2023, US government officials announced the sale of around 9,861 BTC of seized cryptocurrency from Zhong.

The sale generated over $215 million, leaving approximately 40,000 BTC remaining. On April 2, there was a transaction following a decline in the price of Bitcoin, which dropped by over 7% to $65,475 at the time of publication.

The Silk Road marketplace, which has long been inactive, provided a platform for users to engage in the trade of illegal goods, including weapons, drugs, and stolen credit card information.

In 2013, the creator of the platform faced legal consequences when US authorities took him into custody. He is currently incarcerated for two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

READ MORE: Bitcoin Reaches New All-Time High, Surpassing $71,000!

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