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Bitcoin: Crypto markets on the edge after US’ $2-billion Silk Road BTC move

By:
on Apr 3, 2024
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  • A U.S. DOJ controlled wallet transferred 30.17k Bitcoins, valued at nearly $2B to an undisclosed wallet.
  • In 2021, James Zhong's arrest for stealing 50k+ Bitcoins made headlines as one of the biggest crypto seizures.
  • Silk Road, an infamous online black market, gained widespread attention in 2021.

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The cryptocurrency market was abuzz with speculation following a significant on-chain transaction orchestrated by the U.S. government on Tuesday.

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According to Spot on Chain, a wallet controlled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) made a noteworthy move by transferring 30.17k Bitcoins, valued at nearly $2 billion, to an undisclosed wallet.

About 2,000 Bitcoins transferred

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From this intermediary address, approximately 2,000 Bitcoins, equivalent to $132 million, were forwarded to a Coinbase Prime address.

The bulk of the transferred funds, about 29.8k Bitcoins amounting to $1.95 billion, were redirected to another address reportedly belonging to the U.S. government.

Interestingly, the Bitcoins involved in this transaction were seized as part of the crackdown on the Silk Road Hack of November 2021.

What is Silk Road?

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Silk Road was an infamous online black market that exploited Bitcoin’s anonymity to facilitate transactions and conceal user identities.

The market gained widespread attention in 2021 when James Zhong, responsible for stealing more than 50k Bitcoins from the platform, was arrested by U.S. authorities. This seizure remains one of the largest in cryptocurrency history.

Last year, the U.S. government auctioned more than 9k of the seized Bitcoins, fetching approximately $206 million. Despite this sale, CryptoQuant reports that the U.S. government still holds nearly 209k seized Bitcoins, valued at a staggering $14 billion.

Why the BTC transfer?

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Speculation ran rampant regarding the motive behind the latest movement. While some prominent voices in the crypto community speculated that the DOJ was transferring Bitcoins for custody at Coinbase, others expressed concern about a potential market dump.

Despite the apprehension, Bitcoin remained relatively stable in the aftermath of the transaction. At 12:30 pm GMT on Wednesday, Bitcoin was at $65,871.40.

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