Over 9,000 Bitcoin (BTC), linked to the now-defunct darknet market Silk Road, are on the move from addresses thought to be seized by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), according to a tweet from Wu Blockchain.
This activity comes on the heels of the DOJ's previous sale of 9,800 BTC on March 14 and the planned sale of another 41,500 BTC within a year.
Notably, 8,200 BTC went to new wallets while the rest is debated as they are potentially just being shifted to new addresses within their original wallets.
Silk Road was a notorious online black market on the dark web, which was primarily known for illegal drug sales. It used Bitcoin as its main currency, making transactions virtually untraceable and adding to the allure of the platform for those wishing to conduct illicit activities.
The platform was in operation from 2011 until 2013 when it was shut down by the FBI, leading to the arrest of its creator, Ross Ulbricht, who is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.The US government has periodically auctioned off the confiscated Bitcoin over the years. The U.S. government's auctions of Silk Road Bitcoin have served a dual purpose: they allow the government to liquidate seized assets, and they also provide interested investors with the opportunity to acquire large amounts of Bitcoin.
One of the most high-profile participants in these auctions was venture capitalist Tim Draper. In 2014, Draper famously purchased nearly 30,000 Bitcoin seized from Silk Road during a U.S. Marshals Service auction.
After seizing over 50,000 bitcoins from James Zhong, who was convicted of wire fraud for hacking Silk Road in 2012, the U.S. government sold almost 10,000 bitcoins in March and plans to sell the remainder in installments throughout the year, potentially on the Coinbase exchange, despite ongoing disputes about the government's control over related wallets.