Silk Road Crypto Saga Continues: $2 Billion Bitcoin Transfer Traced to DOJ Wallet

The recent movement of approximately $2 billion worth of Bitcoin, previously seized by United States authorities in connection to the Silk Road marketplace, has drawn attention. The crypto, originally linked to James Zhong, who was convicted of wire fraud related to Silk Road in 2022, has been transferred to a new address.

Blockchain data reveals that on April 2, a wallet believed to be owned by the U.S. Justice Department initiated a 0.001 Bitcoin transaction to a Coinbase Prime address, potentially as a preliminary transaction. Subsequently, this same wallet transferred 30,174 BTC, equivalent to roughly $2 billion at the time, to a different address. Online investigators have identified this wallet as the one containing Bitcoin seized from Zhong, who illicitly acquired over 50,000 BTC from Silk Road in 2012.

In 2021, Zhong's property was raided by U.S. authorities, leading to the discovery of hard wallets containing Bitcoin, including one hidden in a popcorn tin under blankets. The majority of the confiscated crypto was sent to the same address that conducted the large transaction on April 2. 

In March 2023, U.S. authorities disclosed that they had sold approximately 9,861 BTC from Zhong's seized crypto, yielding over $215 million, leaving around 40,000 BTC. The transaction on April 2 coincided with a 7% drop in the price of Bitcoin, reaching $65,475 at the time.

Silk Road, an illicit marketplace shut down over a decade ago, facilitated the trading of illegal goods such as weapons, drugs, and stolen credit card information. Its creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2013 and is currently serving two life sentences without parole.