Nearly $1 billion in crypto funds that have ties to the Silk Road dark web are being transferred to other wallet addresses.
The Shakers Behind Silk Road
As we all remember, Silk Road was a dark online market allegedly founded by Ross Ulbricht, who is presently serving a life sentence for his role in the creation of the platform. The website was available to anyone looking to purchase drugs, guns or other contraband with bitcoin. The government shut the company down about seven years ago.
But if that’s the case, then how come so much money related to the website is now being moved around? It’s unclear who’s behind it and where the money is going. The transfers were first reported by blockchain tracking companies Elliptic and Cipher Trace, who say that so far, nearly 70,000 separate bitcoin units have already been moved.
Thus far, it is believed that the funds are being transferred either by law enforcement officials or by criminals who have gained access to the funds and are trying to keep them secure, though analysts are not entirely sure at the time of writing.
Dr. Tom Robinson, who is the founder of Elliptic, says that the account holding the money has thus far remained inactive for the last five years. The last time anyone saw any action with this account is when much of the bitcoin seized from Ross Ulbricht and the operation was sold at auction.
Blockchain analytics show these funds originated from a wallet linked to the Silk Road back in 2012… The movement of these bitcoins… may represent Ulbricht or a Silk Road vendor moving their funds. However, it seems unlikely that Ulbricht would be able to conduct a bitcoin transaction from prison.
Cipher Trace offered similar sentiment. The company mentions:
There is some speculation that the wallet could have been cracked by hackers. These movements could possibly mean that the wallet owner is moving funds to new addresses to prevent hackers from accessing the wallet.dat file, or that hackers have already cracked the file.
Allegedly, hackers have been trying to access this wallet since September. The price of bitcoin has been on the rise these past few months and is presently trading for just shy of $14,000, the highest it’s been in roughly one year. Naturally, there are cyberthieves out there that are looking to cash in on the asset.
Now’s the Time to Do This?
Professor Alan Woodward – computer scientists from Surrey University – comments:
It’s been sitting there for such a long time that if the criminals were ever going to cash out, they might as well try now. They know very well it’s being watched, but they also know that we live in turbulent times where the authorities have their hands full with major world events. They might be hoping they can slip under the radar.