The 69,000 bitcoin seized in November 2020 from a wallet linked to Silk Road may have belonged to an agent investigating the case.
The episode caused a stir: it was the largest seizure of bitcoin in history. In the official document, the Justice Department explained that the funds had been handed over by an alleged “individual X” who had stolen the same funds from Silk Road at the time.
But who is Individual X? According to Fortune, it is Shaun Bridges, a secret service agent who was already in prison for theft and fraud when he was on the task force investigating Silk Road.
Shaun Bridges and the bitcoins of Silk Road
The story of Shaun Bridges is well reconstructed by the US Department of Justice. He was an intelligence agent for about 6 years. Between 2012 and 2014 he was part of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force. His specific task was to do forensic investigations to locate and identify who was behind the marketplace accused of selling illegal things, including drugs.
He went to jail in 2015 on charges of money laundering. He is also accused of stealing about 1,600 bitcoin from a wallet belonging to the US government. He has been sentenced to 71 and 24 months in prison for at least two convictions.
According to Jeff Roberts, who signed the article in Fortune, there are several indications that he is the one who delivered those 70,000 bitcoin to the FBI directly from Silk Road’s wallets.
First of all, the incriminated wallet had been idle since 2015, the year Bridges went to prison. Then interestingly, the case of the wallet with the 70,000 bitcoin was transferred back to Judge Seeborg, the same judge who handled the previous cases involving not only Shaun Bridges but also the other agent involved in the Silk Road investigation: Carl Force.
According to former prosecutor Katie Haun, this is not necessarily evidence.
The fate of the seized bitcoin
Meanwhile, the bitcoin seized in November were worth $1 billion at the time. The recent rise in the price of bitcoin has tripled their value. The recent rise in the price of bitcoin has tripled their value. At the time of writing this article, the price of a bitcoin is around $45,000, which multiplied by 69,000 BTC is $3.1 billion. They will be auctioned off and will certainly be sought after at a time when the price of bitcoin is moving towards new unexplored horizons.