Alleged Silk Road founder wants $90 million in Bitcoins back

the silk road

Ross Ulbricht, who was arrested earlier in the year and is allegedly the man behind the website Silk Road, is demanding that $30 million in Bitcoins that were seized from him be returned.

When he was arrested in San Francisco, authorities took 144,336 Bitcoins that were on Ulbricht’s computer. He was arrested for charges that related to hacking, drug trafficking and money laundering, all of which had a connection to the Silk Road. It is also believed that he had ordered a hit (read: death) on several people who had connections to him and could potentially interfere with his business.

Silk Road is essentially an online black market which can only be accessed by running a .tor browser. It’s possible to find drugs, weaponry and all sorts of illegal merchandise. It was shut down around the time of Ulbricht’s arrest, but barely a month had passed before the site was back up again.

Bitcoins have had a tumultuous couple of months, rising to over a thousand a Bitcoin, though recent events have caused it to drop. At the time of this article’s writing, one Bitcoin is worth $673.5 USD — making Ulbricht’s collection worth around $90 million USD.

If he is cleared of the charges piled up against him, maybe he will have a case for getting back his Bitcoins, until then it seems unlikely. But hey, I’m no lawyer.

[via Huffington Post (1),(2), Vice, The Telegraph, Preev]

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  1. JMJ

    Ashraf, you have a good understanding of American law: the money is, indeed, “frozen” in an “evidence locker” until the case is fully adjudicated and Ulbricht either is found guilty or not guilty. His attorneys will argue that all or some part of the Bitcoin trove is legal on its face and, therefore, should be returned to Ulbricht pending the outcome of all proceedings. The attorneys would love to prevail in that argument, since it would assure their being paid. Based on the info floating about the Net, that argument will fail and the Bitcoins will continue to be held in that “evidence locker”.

    At this point, I’m betting Ulbricht will never see them again in any shape or form.

    It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Government deals with the Bitcoins because, if they dispose of them at any value, i.e., redeem them for any amount of money in a recognized currency, then the Government will, de facto, “endorse” the Bitcoin paradigm.

  2. Mike S.

    [@Ashraf] In the end, it will go into the U.S.’ coffers. Although, the fact that it is Bitcoin is a bit interesting–wonder if this will be a first for the government.

    And yes, the government doesn’t get it until it proves its case. But in the meanwhile, my guess is that the money is frozen, so that it doesn’t somehow “disappear” . . . .