A billion-dollar mystery has been solved.
Cryptocurrency watchers were stunned when they recently saw a billion dollars of Bitcoin being moved from a very old account that has been inactive for years.
The mystery was solved as the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed court filings related to the Ross Ulbricht 2015 Silk Road case. Ulbricht, who ran the infamous dark-web site Silk Road, was convicted and his bitcoin assets seized. But before they all could be grabbed, a hacker stole 70k bitcoins from Ulbricht's accounts. As they say, there is little honor among thieves. At the time it was worth a few hundred thousand dollars, but now it has appreciated to a billion dollars!
The Silk Road was a notorious site, hiding in the Dark Web that catered to nefarious activities including selling illegal drugs and services. It was even purported that assassination services were available. All payments were in Bitcoin.
It has taken some time, but government investigators have finally tracked down that thief and struck a deal. Shortly after, about $1 billion was transferred out of that account, probably to one the government controls.
This is momentous! Such a seizure of criminal assets puts most others to shame and it will likely drive some changes in law enforcement.
This and other recent cyber investigations are driving changes:
1. Crypto investigations will definitely gain more respect and focus within the law enforcement community
2. Such seizures can be a windfall to help enforcement invest more time and resources to cyber investigations. The previously seized bitcoin was auctioned off to the public for millions of dollars. I would expect the same here, but for much more.
3. Cooperation between enforcement agencies and across national borders to improve. With each wanting their cut of seized assets.
Overall, this has put the Silk Road case finally to rest. The message to organized criminals is that law enforcement is getting better, they can be patient, and cryptocurrency is not the perfect hideout for illegal financial transactions.
That is good news for the reputation and continued growth of the cryptocurrency community!
Matthew Rosenquist is an industry-recognized pragmatic, passionate, and innovative strategic security expert with 28 years of experience. He thrives in challenging cybersecurity environments and in the face of ever shifting threats. A leader in identifying opportunities, driving industry change, and building mature security organizations, Matthew delivers capabilities for sustainable security postures. He has experience in protecting billions of dollars of corporate assets, consulting across industry verticals, understanding current and emerging risks, communicating opportunities, forging internal cooperation and executive buy-in, and developing practical strategies. Matthew is a trusted advisor, security expert, and evangelist for academia, businesses, and governments around the world. A public advocate for best-practices, and communicating the risks and opportunities emerging in cybersecurity. He delivers engaging keynotes, speeches, interviews, and consulting sessions at conferences and to audiences around the globe. He has attracted a large social following of security peers, is an active member on advisory boards, and quoted in news, magazines, and books. Matthew is a recognized industry expert, speaker, and leader who enjoys the pursuit of achieving optimal cybersecurity. Matthew Rosenquist is experienced in building world class teams and capabilities, managing security operations, evangelizing best-practices to the market, developing security products, and improving corporate security services.