US Announces Seizure of $3.36B in Stolen Bitcoin

    Photo: cnbc

    The Facts

    • The US Dept. of Justice on Monday announced a historic seizure of bitcoin stolen nearly a decade ago from the Silk Road dark web marketplace, along with the conviction of the man responsible for the theft.

    • According to the announcement, authorities raided James Zhong's house in Georgia last year and seized over 50K bitcoin (worth more than $3.36B USD at the time) that was hidden in an underground floor safe and in a circuit board concealed in the bottom of a popcorn tin.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    This record seizure, and the arrest of Zhong, are indications of the progress being made by US authorities in the fight against cybercrime, particularly in the recovery of illicitly gained cryptocurrency. This case is yet another notch in the belt for IRS Criminal Investigations, which continue to find multi-billion dollar troves of stolen cryptocurrencies and disrupt dark web markets.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Why did it take authorities almost a decade to track down such a large sum of stolen currency? If this money had been hard cash, the FBI would've put significantly more effort into tracking down Zhong and recovering the stolen funds. It's certainly a success that the Bitcoin was finally recovered, but the time that it took to achieve indicates alarming gaps in the FBI's approach to fighting cybercrime.

    Nerd narrative

    There is an 8% chance that at least one person will be convicted for the possession of Bitcoin in the US before 2060, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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