The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently made headlines in the crypto community with its massive Bitcoin transfers. According to Santiment, a blockchain data provider, the DOJ transferred over $1 billion worth of Bitcoin in a series of transactions, with the largest transfer amounting to $666 million. The transactions involved the transfer of 9.8K BTC, worth $217 million, to Coinbase and 39K BTC, worth $867 million, to new addresses.
According to reports, the Bitcoin transferred by the DOJ was seized from the Silk Road hacker in November 2020, when the price of BTC was around $11,000. The Silk Road was a notorious dark web marketplace shut down by the FBI in 2013, and its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
The DOJ’s latest move is even more significant, as the department’s two transactions represent the largest single transfer of Bitcoin.
US Government Ramps Up Fight Against Crypto Crime
The US government has ramped up its efforts to crack down on illegal activities facilitated by cryptocurrency. While repeatedly slashing down the “pig butchering” crypto scam schemes, it has also displayed a great deal of vigilance towards the activity on the Dark Web.
In November 2022, the DOJ announced the historic seizure of over 50,676 Bitcoin, worth approximately $3.36 billion at the time, in connection with the Silk Road dark web fraud. Defendant James Zhong had unlawfully obtained Bitcoin from the Silk Road in 2012 and later hid the cryptocurrency in devices at his home. Zhong has since pled guilty to the charges. This was the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the DOJ’s history and highlighted the increasing use of digital currencies in criminal activities on the Dark Web.
As the use of cryptocurrency continues to grow, we will likely see more efforts by law enforcement agencies to crack down on its use for illegal activities. The DOJ’s transfer of $1.08 billion worth of Bitcoin is significant. While it remains to be seen what impact this transfer will have on the market, it sends a clear message that the US government is taking the issue seriously and will continue pursuing those who use cryptocurrency for illicit purposes.