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UPDATED: The bitcoin heist worth $1 billion

It has been revealed that the DOJ has seized the Bitcoins worth $1 billion

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the seizure of more than $1 billion worth of Bitcoin connected to this digital wallet and someone called 'Individual X'.

The digital currency was originally owned by the founder of the dark-web site 'Silk Road', as suggested by Tom Robinson previously.  

"Today’s forfeiture complaint answers this open question at least in part. $1 billion of these criminal proceeds are now in the United States’ possession," said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson of the Northern District of California.

'Individual X' had previously poached the mentioned bitcoins from Silk Road between 2012 and 2013. As a result, the Department of Justice declared that, in 2020, the IRS Criminal Investigation agents decided to seek additional help by utilising a third party company with expertise in bitcoin. The third party company and the IRS Criminal Investigation agents collaborated to investigate suspicious transactions completed by Silk Road. The investigation exposed 54 previously undetected transfers, which were results of a hack.

Since these profits were acquired through illegal activity, the government decided to seize them even though the Silk Road founder did not currently own them, as he is currently serving double life sentences for creating the infamous dark-web site and other heinous crimes. 

IRS-CI special agent Kelly R. Jackson, who was in charge of the operation, stated “criminal proceeds should not remain in the hands of the thieves. Through CI’s expertise in following the money, we were able to track down the illicit funds,” Jackson continued to add “the Washington DC Cyber Crimes Unit is uniquely specialised in tracing virtual currency transactions and we will continue to hone our skills to combat illegal activity.”



An unidentified individual has recently moved more than $1 billion worth of bitcoins from a digital wallet which was dormant for more than five years 

An anonymous person has recently managed to move 69,369 bitcoins from a digital wallet which was dormant for more than five years. This bitcoin wallet is worth more than $1 billion. When the person who owns the wallet bought these bitcoins back in 2015, the price per bitcoin was $250, which has rocketed to $14,500. 

Due to the seemingly-anonymous nature of the digital currency, it means that, it is not possible to find the individual who owns this wallet. However, through the public blockchain ledger, it is very possible to track the movement of its content online. 

The encrypted wallet was circulating among hackers who were all trying to crack the complex password. The co-founder of cyber security firm Hudson Rock, Alon Gal, was the first to spot the movement of funds. 

 “Unbelievable – someone was able to crack the password of the bitcoin wallet I reported on only a short time ago and spend the $1,000,000,000 that was inside it,” Mr Gal tweeted

82749326_lIt is still unclear whether a hacker was able to enter the wallet or the owner saw that people were trying to hack into the wallet. Nevertheless, someone was able to break the complex alphanumeric password needed to access the bitcoin wallet. 

“It was either the person who cracked the password or the original owner who may have noticed the recent articles about his wallet being circulated among hackers,” Mr Gal said. “Either way this is pretty interesting.” 

The bitcoin wallet, believed to be the world’s fourth largest, could have possible ties to the illicit online marketplace Silk Road which was shut down in 2013 after a raid by the FBI.   

“Why the sudden large movement of funds? A copy of the encrypted wallet file is reportedly being circulated – if someone cracked the password they could seize the bitcoins. The owner of the wallet has perhaps moved the bitcoin to a new wallet to prevent this,” Tom Robinson, who works for a blockchain analysis firm called Elliptic, tweeted. 

Robinson continued, “I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that there is a fair chance that these are Ross Ulbricht’s bitcoins. Ross is currently serving a double life sentence for his role in creating the Silk Road. Whether they are still under his control is another matter.” 

Block Issue 5 is out:

The Block is a bi-annual publication which illuminates the cutting-edge sectors of AI, blockchain, crypto and emerging tech, with a print run of 5000 delivered to leading brands across the global industry. View our latest issue of the Block here.

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