- Fourth-largest Bitcoin address might belong to Silk Road marketplace.
- The address moved nearly $1 billion of BTC recently.
- Alternatively, the funds might have been moved by someone who cracked an encrypted file circulating on hackers forums.
Notorious darknet marketplace Silk Road has moved nearly $1 billion worth of Bitcoin in a recent transaction.
According to a recent Elliptic report, the transaction moved funds out of a popular Bitcoin address. The address, prior to the transaction, had the fourth-highest balance of any Bitcoin address.
Silk Road market
Silk Road market was one of the first darknet marketplaces to enhance its anonymity via two distinct methods. The darknet website combined Bitcoin and Tor to facilitate the trade of illegal goods and services with a high level of anonymity in both the online activity as well as the payments.
The marketplace grew famous and attracted nearly 4,000 vendors and more than 150,000 buyers. The marketplace facilitated sales of goods and services worth around $183 million.
In 2015, Ross Ulbricht was arrested and subsequently sentenced to a double life sentence for his role in the creation and operations of the Silk Road marketplace. The FBI seized around 174,000 BTC from Ulbricht that were later sold at auction by the government.
However, the Silk Road marketplace is believed to have earned nearly 614,000 BTC. It is unlikely that they were in possession of Ulbricht; more likely, he sold BTC to finance the operations so they might still be in circulation.
Recently the fourth-largest Bitcoin address moved 69,369 BTC. Elliptic’s research suggests that the address originated from the Silk Road marketplace. The research suggests that they moved out of Silk Road’s wallet in 2012 to another address where they spent one year in dormancy before moving to the current address.
The address is also popular on hacker forums where an encrypted file is circulating, claiming to be containing the cryptographic keys required to access the Bitcoins held inside the wallet.
This address has only made one outgoing transaction before, and that was in 2015 to cryptocurrency exchange platform BTC-e. The exchange was used by money launderers and was later shut down by US authorities.
The movement of these funds might represent an associate of Ross Ulbricht or a Silk Road vendor moving their assets. However, Elliptic was unable to confirm this.
On the other hand, the encrypted file might have been real, and the password has been cracked.