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U.S DoJ reveals second-largest haul with seizure of BTC worth $3.3B

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U.S DoJ reveals second-largest haul with seizure of BTC worth $3.3B

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The U.S Department of Justice is in the news today after it announced its second-largest Bitcoin seizure ever. This was made towards the end of 2021 in connection with Silk Road, the infamous dark web marketplace.

As per the official press release, Damian Williams, the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York, revealed that a joint investigation by his office and the Internal Revenue Service led to the discovery of a massive Bitcoin stash in November 2021. 

With over 50,000 BTCs, the stash was worth an estimated $3.36 billion at the time. This hoard of BTC was recovered from James Zhong, with Zhong defrauding Silk Road back in 2012. 

The Silk Road fraud

In September 2012, Zhong created several fraudulent accounts on Silk Road in order to execute a scheme to defraud the marketplace. He tricked the marketplace’s withdrawal processing system into releasing almost 50,000 BTCs by triggering over 140 transactions. 

The exploited Bitcoins were moved to several different addresses in a bid to conceal identity and prevent detection.

In August 2017, Bitcoin’s hard fork led to Zhong gaining 50,000 BCH. These, he later exchanged for 3500 BTC, bringing his total stash to 53,500 BTC. 

Similar seizures by U.S authorities

This is not the first time that U.S authorities have confiscated Bitcoins related to the Silk Road. Back in November 2020, the U.S Department of Justice seized almost 70,000 Bitcoins, along with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG) and Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV). According to court documents, these cryptocurrencies were also stolen from Silk Road.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice revealed its biggest ever Bitcoin seizure – Almost 120,000 in number. This $3.6 billion seizure was related to the hack carried out on Bitfinex in 2016. 

The Federal Bitcoin whale

The seizures outlined above have made it evident that Federal authorities in the United States are sitting on a BTC stash. This qualifies them as a major whale. 

Crypto-Twitter estimates that the authorities’ BTC holdings are over 210,000 BTCs. In fact, one user pointed out that when the BTC from Mt. Gox is taken into consideration, the number goes up to 287,000 BTC. 


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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