Silk Road bust leads to largest Bitcoin forfeiture by authorities

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Authorities have made the largest ever forfeiture of Bitcoins, following the black market bust of Silk Road.

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, announced last Thursday that approximately $28 million worth of Bitcoins were seized from the Silk Road server and its “hidden website.”

Back in October, the FBI shutdown Silk Road, a black market that existed on the Deep Web and was accessible through the Tor network. The action led to the arrest of Silk Road's alleged operator, Ross Ulbricht.

A criminal complaint was filed in a Manhattan federal court in September 2013 against Ulbricht, also known as “Dread Pirate Roberts.” He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and with two counts related to narcotics conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

“With today's forfeiture of $28 million worth of Bitcoins from the Silk Road website, a global cyber business designed to broker criminal transactions, we continue our efforts to take the profit out of crime and signal to those who would turn to the dark web for illicit activity that they have chosen the wrong path,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in the Thursday release from the Justice Department. “These Bitcoins were forfeited not because they are Bitcoins, but because they were, as the court found, the proceeds of crimes.”

While some criminals have opted to trade and purchase illegal wares and services using Bitcoins, both established and legitimate businesses have begun to take on the digital currency.

Earlier this month, Overstock.com became the first major online retailer in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin payments.

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