Ross Ulbricht Cleared of $183 Million in Silk Road Fines
A recently unveiled court filing has revealed that Ross Ulbricht, the incarcerated 38-year-old founder of Silk Road, will forfeit claims toward 69,370 Bitcoin seized by US federal investigators in exchange for the clearance of $183 million in restitution he owed as part of his 2015 sentencing.
The seized bitcoins, which formerly resided at 1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx, also include the unsplit Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV attached to the address private key and are currently valued at over $3 billion in total. As part of the agreement, Ulbricht and his family agreed to relinquish any possibility of ever obtaining the funds, regardless of whether he should ever be freed from prison.
Blockchain sleuths noticed the coins – believed to have been hacked from Silk Road in 2013 – moved for the first time in five years in November 2020, coinciding with a complaint filed with the US Department of Justice in which they state that the coins had been seized. The funds were reportedly confiscated from a “notorious hacker” who used Silk Road to launder their ill-gotten proceeds.
Launched in Feb. 2011, Silk Road was the world’s first darknet market, conceived and built by Ulbricht as a manifestation of his anti-regulatory and pro-libertarian ideals. Though it was shut down a little more than two and a half years later, his original creation inspired countless other markets to form, initiating a darknet- and cryptocurrency-based movement that continues to grow in worldwide popularity each year.
Ulbricht, who went by the moniker Dread Pirate Roberts online, was handed a life sentence for his roles as Silk Road architect and admin. Though he remains in prison, several movements have sprung up advocating for his release, such as the FreeRossDAO. He was most recently denied a pardon by former US President Donald Trump.