Nearly 30,000 bitcoins seized in October of last year have been signed off on a forfeiture order, federal prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office announced on Thursday.
Currently valued around $25 million, the bitcoins were seized from Ross Ulbricht, who allegedly founded and operated hidden website Silk Road under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.
Described by prosecutors as the most “sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet,” Silk Road facilitated anonymous users in brokering illegal deals in computer hacking, forgeries, drug trafficking, and even murder-for-hire.
In addition to the 30,000 bitcoins included in the forfeiture order signed by U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken on Wednesday, the FBI are now in possession of another 144,336 bitcoins seized in connection with the Silk Road case. At today’s exchange rates, the government is holding approximately $148 million total in their wallet from the bust, the largest such action involving the virtual currency to date.
Though the 30,000 seized in the initial action has been cleared for sale, the additional 144, 336 will remain in the government’s wallet for the time being.
It is unclear how the FBI plans to offload the bitcoins, as there is currently no legally certified Bitcoin exchange in the United States. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Office spokesperson, Jim Margolin, said the bitcoins will go on auction soon, but did not give a specific date.