U.S. Government Transfers $2B Bitcoin from Silk Road to Coinbase: Report

    Key Takeaways

    • A wallet associated with the U.S. government transferred 30,175 BTC to a wallet reportedly linked to Coinbase
    • The government’s last confirmed sale was in March 2023, when it sold 9,861 coins for $216 million

    In a major development, the U.S. government has reportedly executed a substantial transfer of Bitcoin to a wallet associated with Coinbase. This transaction, occurring on a Tuesday morning, involved the movement of approximately 30,175 Bitcoin, which, at the prevailing market price of around $65,000 per coin, translates to an estimated value of $2 billion.

    This noteworthy transfer has garnered attention due to its connection with the infamous Silk Road website. The Silk Road, once a prominent online black market, facilitated illicit transactions using cryptocurrencies, notably Bitcoin. It gained notoriety for its role in enabling the sale of illegal goods and services until it was shut down by the FBI in 2013.

    According to blockchain data, a wallet believed to be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Justice Department initiated a minor transaction of 0.001 Bitcoin to a Coinbase Prime address, ostensibly as a test transaction. Subsequently, the same wallet executed the substantial transfer, sending 30,174 Bitcoin to a new address.

    Online investigators have identified this wallet as the one containing Bitcoin seized from James Zhong, who was convicted in 2022 on charges related to unlawfully obtained cryptocurrency from the Silk Road.

    The origin of this Bitcoin dates back to Zhong’s acquisition of over 50,000 Bitcoin from the Silk Road in 2012. In a raid conducted by U.S. authorities in 2021, Zhong’s property was found to contain hard wallets holding Bitcoin, including one concealed within a popcorn tin. The bulk of the confiscated cryptocurrency was routed to the same address that initiated the substantial transfer on April 2.

    Established in 2011 by Ross William Ulbricht, the Silk Road was a pioneering darknet marketplace known for facilitating money laundering and illegal drug transactions primarily using Bitcoin. Ulbricht, now serving a life sentence in prison, accumulated substantial profits, estimated at around $80 million, from commissions earned within the Silk Road platform.

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