After selling some bitcoins recovered from a Ross Ulbricht-related case back in March, the US government has decided to put the remaining assets from the Silk Road platform up for sale. In a court filing on Friday, the government announced that it will offer for sale 41,491 bitcoins from hacker James Zhong. This sale would raise $1.17 billion.
More than $1 billion at stake in the sale of 41,491 bitcoins
About two weeks ago, the U.S. government sold nearly 9,861 BTC seized in a case related to Ross Ulbricht, the creator of a maketplace on the darknet, Silk Road, active from 2011 to 2013.
In a document filed on Friday, March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. government announced its intention to sell the remaining 41,491 BTC of the 51,351 bitcoins seized in the Ulbricht case, and stolen by the hacker James Zhong. According to the American authorities, Zhong would have stolen the crypto assets of Silk Road in 2012.
Indeed, James Zhong had created fake accounts and made quick deposits before withdrawing larger amounts on Silk Road. Criminals frequently used this platform to launder money, traffic drugs, and engage in other illicit activities.
After the discovery by the judiciary of the stolen bitcoins at his home in 2021, James Zhong pleaded guilty. According to the U.S. government, the sale of the seized bitcoins can only take place after the conviction of Zhong, scheduled to be released on April 14.
According to the document, the U.S. government sold the 9,861 BTC seized on March 14 for $215 million. At current market prices, the remaining 41,491 bitcoins are worth about $1.17 billion. The government further revealed that the 41,490.72 bitcoins will be liquidated in four more batches during this year.
For his part, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht has been serving a prison sentence for 10 years, with no hope of release. The U.S. government thus seems to have found a lucrative way to get rid of its seized Bitcoins, while perhaps impacting the market. It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin will falter or hold up.
As a journalist at Coinpri, I’ve been captivated by the world of bitcoin and blockchain since 2020. The decentralized aspect of Bitcoin particularly piqued my interest. Since then, I’ve been working constantly to spread my knowledge, hoping one day to see a world where everyone fully enjoys their financial freedom.