Millennial Money

U.S. plans to sell $130 million of Bitcoin seized in connection with Silk Road

The U.S. government has filed notice to sell $130 million of Bitcoin (BTC) previously seized connection with the Silk Road darknet marketplace.

The government said that it says that it intends to dispose of (ie. sell) two lots of Bitcoin in any manner that the U.S. Attorney general directs.

That will likely see the government sell both lots, including 2874.9 BTC valued at $129 million and 58.7 BTC valued at $3.3 million.

The text of the notice also allows for other individuals (except for defendants) to claim interest in the forfeited property through an ancillary petition within 60 days of Jan. 10. It also allows for petitions for remission or mitigation, which would pardon some or all of the seized Bitcoin from the forfeiture.

BTC belonged to Xanax seller and U.S. agent

The Bitcoin previously belonged two individuals. The first lot was seized from Ryan Farace, a Maryland man who along with his father was convicted of a money laundering conspiracy involving darknet market sales of Xanax, and from Sean Bridges, a former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent involved in Silk Road investigations who stole Bitcoin that the U.S. government had previously obtained. The second, smaller lot was seized solely from Bridges.

The two lots were seized on Feb. 10, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee, and on May 11, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia, respectively. A District Court in Maryland previously condemned and forfeited the Bitcoin to the U.S. government on Jan. 8, 2024.

Those funds make up just a small portion of Silk Road-related seizures that the U.S. government has made to date. In addition to early seizures from Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht circa 2013, the government seized $3.6 billion of Bitcoin from James Zhong in 2022 as well as $1 billion of Bitcoin circa 2020.

As of December 2023, the U.S. government held about $9 billion worth of Bitcoin, though this did not exclusively originate from Silk Road seizures.

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