US Government to Auction Off $117 Million Worth of Bitcoin Seized from Silk Road

The US government has announced its intention to sell nearly 2,934 Bitcoin (BTC), worth about $117 million at the current exchange rate, that were confiscated from the notorious Silk Road dark web marketplace. The sale is expected to take place in the coming weeks, according to a notice issued by the US District Court for the District of Maryland.

The details of the Bitcoin to be sold are as follows:

  • 2,874.904256 Bitcoin, worth approximately $114,998,570.40, seized from Ryan Farace and Sean Bridges in Memphis on February 10, 2021;
  • 58.742155166 Bitcoin, worth approximately $2,349,686.07, forfeited from Ryan Farace in Arlington on May 11, 2021.

The notice was issued when the price of Bitcoin was around $45,000. Since then, Bitcoin has dropped and is trading around $40,000, so the article has adjusted the values accordingly.

Silk Road was a digital black market that used Bitcoin to launder money and trade illegal drugs. It was shut down by the FBI in 2013, and its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

In 2018, the US Department of Justice prosecuted Ryan Farace for selling illicit substances through Silk Road. At the time, Farace claimed that he had lost access to the Bitcoin he earned from the dark web. His scheme to hide his assets was uncovered in 2021, leading to the seizure by the authorities. In early January 2024, both Farace and his father were sentenced to prison for money laundering.

The US government still holds over 207,000 BTC, worth nearly $9 billion, seized from various criminal activities. In March 2023, the US authorities sold 9,800 BTC, earning $261 million. At the time, the US announced that it would conduct more BTC auctions in 2023, but that did not happen, making this a new source of “dumping” that the crypto community has to worry about in 2024.

Interestingly, according to data from Arkham, there has been no activity in the wallets related to the Silk Road case since the beginning of the year. They still contain 99,865 BTC, worth $3.97 billion. This means that the US government’s move to sell Bitcoin has not yet actually occurred.

Recently, we have witnessed a series of bad news for Bitcoin. While the sell-off of Bitcoin by Grayscale has not ended, there are rumors that Mt.Gox will return Bitcoin to investors. Combined with the news of the US government selling Bitcoin from the Silk Road case, this seems to have some impact on the price of the top coin in the market in the near future.

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