29,655 Bitcoins will be sold, but Ulbricht might be able to hang onto his private stash.
Ross William Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts the operator of Silk Road, was caught out last year when the FBI arrested him and seized control of his website. That seizure included a substantial wallet full of Bitcoin, and now the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office has announced the forfeiture of Silk Road’s entire stash, which will be sold at auction. How big is that wallet? About $28 million big, or 29,655 Bitcoin.
“We have not yet determined exactly how the Bitcoins will be converted and liquidated,” says Manhattan U.S. Attorney Office spokesperson Jim Margolin. The U.S. Marshals service will probably have the honor, and all proceeds will end up in the U.S. Treasury at some future date. However this stash pales in comparison to the 144,000 Bitcoin wallet taken from Ulbricht, which he claims is his personal property.
Ulbricht has filed a claim contesting that his wallet has nothing to do with the Silk Road. Since the only reason the Feds can auction off Silk Road’s stash is because it’s the proceeds of illegal activity, if Ulbricht is successful he may be able to keep his Bitcoin. However anyone else involved in the Silk Road debacle is out of luck, even if their Bitcoin wasn’t used to buy narcotics and Trojans. Any Bitcoin in the Silk Road wallet, however it got there, is assumed to have been used to facilitate money laundering.
“We continue our efforts to take the profit out of crime and signal to those who would turn to the dark web for illicit activity that they have chosen the wrong path,” says Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Source: Ars Technica