DOJ Seizes $3.36 billion in Second-Largest Bitcoin Recovery

The U.S. Division of Justice (DOJ) stated it seized $3.36 billion in stolen bitcoin belongings—the second-largest restoration on file. The cryptocurrency haul was taken in 2021 from the house of a crypto hacker within the U.S. who “unlawfully obtained” greater than 50,000 bitcoin (BTC) from the now-defunct unlawful dark-web market Silk Street greater than a decade in the past.

James Zhong, of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded responsible Nov. 4, 2022, to at least one rely of wire fraud, and faces a most sentence of 20 years in jail.

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Division of Justice introduced the 2021 restoration of $3.36 billion in stolen bitcoin.
  • The cash had been lacking for greater than 10 years and have soared in worth since then.
  • Hacks, resembling this in depth one, proceed to plague the crypto sector.

Feds Seize BTC Linked to Defunct Market

DOJ on Nov. 7, 2022, introduced the massive November 2021 Bitcoin restoration and stated the cash have been linked to a “refined scheme” to steal from the now-defunct Silk Street market. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the positioning in 2013 and arrested its proprietor, Ross Ulbricht, who was later sentenced to life in jail.

In November 2020, the U.S. authorities additionally seized $1 billion price of bitcoin linked to the positioning, however the newest haul of fifty,676 BTC was taken from bitcoin wallets linked to Zhong. The digital belongings have been discovered hidden on varied units in his dwelling in an underfloor secure and inside a popcorn tin.

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“For nearly 10 years, the whereabouts of this large chunk of lacking Bitcoin had ballooned into an over-$3.3 billion thriller,” U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams stated in a DOJ press launch.

Hacks Have Continued After the Darkish Net

The most recent restoration of stolen cryptocurrency follows the announcement of the most important Bitcoin seizure up to now in February 2022. DOJ at the moment stated it had seized greater than $3.6 billion linked to the 2016 hack of the Bitfinex change.

Regardless of the closure of the Silk Street market and tighter scrutiny from regulators and federal companies, massive crypto hacks have continued to tarnish the outlook for the cryptocurrency sector. In an August 2022 report, blockchain information supplier Chainalysis stated that greater than $1.6 billion price of cryptocurrency had been stolen as much as that time in 2022. That was adopted by an extra high-profile hack on Oct. 6, when $570 million was taken from the Binance change.

The Backside Line

Federal brokers’ newly introduced second-largest all-time Bitcoin seizure in 2021 was linked to the now-defunct Silk Street dark-web market. Regardless of the closure of those unlawful websites, hackers are nonetheless discovering methods to use cryptocurrency platforms, so that continues to be a hurdle for broad institutional adoption of digital currencies.