Internet Law

Judge approves forfeiture of more than $25M in Bitcoins


A federal judge in Manhattan has approved the forfeiture more than $25 million worth of Bitcoins, a virtual currency seized from the servers of a website allegedly used to facilitate illegal drug sales.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan on Thursday announced the forfeiture order for nearly 30,000 Bitcoins seized last October from Silk Road servers, report Forbes, the Verge and NBC News. The U.S. Attorney’s Office put the value at $28 million, though Forbes says the value is $25 million at current exchange rates.

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“These Bitcoins were forfeited not because they are Bitcoins,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a press release, “but because they were, as the court found, the proceeds of crimes.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said it still hadn’t been determined how the currency would be converted and liquidated. Forbes said it was likely the Bitcoins would be auctioned off “as if they were Bernie Madoff’s penthouse or a drug dealer’s cars.”

The FBI has also seized144,000 Bitcoins from Ross Ulbricht, who denies he is the founder of Silk Road. He claims a right to retain the nearly $100 million in the currency found on his computer, Forbes says. He has been charged with conspiracy related to narcotics, computer hacking, and money laundering.

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