A London-based blockchain analysis firm Elliptic has claimed that almost $1 billion worth of bitcoin tha have possible links with the Silk Road online black market is on the move.
In 2013, the United States authorities closed down Silk Road while a life sentence was awarded two years later to its creator Ross Ulbricht. People were able to sell drugs and other illegal goods on the site that is hidden away as part of the dark web.
It became aware of a transaction of funds believed to have originated from the site, said Elliptic, a firm that tracks the movement of dirty money in the cryptocurrency arena.
Elliptic said that at least 69,369 bitcoins were moving of a wallet that had the fourth-highest balance of any globally, which, according to CoinDesk, was valued at about $950 million today.
The passcode required to withdraw bitcoins from that wallet were allegedly contained in an encrypted file circulating among hackers, it added.
“The movement of these bitcoins today … may represent Ulbricht or a Silk Road vendor moving their funds,” Tom Robinson, co-founder and chief scientist of Elliptic, said in a blog post. “However it seems unlikely that Ulbricht would be able to conduct a bitcoin transaction from prison.”
“Alternatively, the encrypted wallet file may have been real, and the password has now been cracked — allowing the bitcoins to be moved.”
Even though 174,000 bitcoins from Ulbricht had been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Silk Road commissions gad been able to generate an additional 440,000 bitcoins, Robinson said.
“There has always been the suspicion that proceeds of the Silk Road may remain in circulation,” he said.
No comment on the issue was available from the FBI.
Throughout 202, bitcoin has gained a lot. With major companies such as PayPal and Facebook having showed their interests in crypto currencies and issuing them, bitcoin has gained as much as 91 per cent in value so far from the start of this year.
At the same time however, regulators and bankers across the world gad also been conducting greater scrutiny of the crypto currency because of the extensive use of bitcoin being used in transactions and sharing of money in criminal such like money laundering and even terrorism.
Attempts to bring in some form of legitimacy to the cryptocurrency industry have been made by Elliptic and one of its competitors called Chainalysis. The companies have tried to sell analytics tools which can be used by virtual currency exchanges and banks to prevent any possible dubious transactions involving crypto currencies.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)