Stolen $3bn Bitcoin mystery ends with popcorn tin discovery

Stolen bn Bitcoin mystery ends with popcorn tin discovery

The US Department of Justice has revealed it seized $3.36bn (£2.9bn) of Bitcoin last year which was stolen from an notorious darknet web site.

The stash of fifty,676 Bitcoin was discovered hidden on numerous units in a hacker’s residence in an underfloor safe and inside a popcorn tin.

James Zhong has pleaded responsible to hacking the funds in 2012 from the unlawful Silk Road market.

US authorities say the seizure is the second largest in historical past.

The police raid at Mr Zhong’s Georgia residence was carried out a year in the past however solely revealed now.

It got here at the same time as Bitcoin’s worth peaked – the seized funds would now be value about $1.1bn.

Officers say they discovered the Bitcoin dotted around his residence on arduous drives and other storage units in an underfloor safe and on a tiny laptop hidden inside a popcorn tin in a toilet closet.

Underfloor safe with cash inside
Image caption,As nicely because the Bitcoin, police discovered $600,000 in money in an underfloor safe

Police say Mr Zhong was in a position to steal the funds from the Silk Road by exploiting a flaw within the web site’s fee system.

In September 2012, he set up a number of accounts on the darknet market and deposited a small amount of Bitcoin into his digital wallets. He then discovered a manner to withdraw far bigger quantities quickly in order not to increase suspicion.

Silk Road was the primary darknet market, which operated from roughly 2011 till 2013. It was utilized by drug sellers and other illegal distributors to distribute large portions of unlawful drugs and other illicit items and services to many consumers.

The darknet is part of the web that may solely be accessed utilizing specialist software program.

In 2015 Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht was unanimously convicted of running it by a jury and sentenced to life in jail.

Mr Zhong pleaded responsible on 4 November to hacking the web site and has forfeited his Bitcoin and property to police as he awaits sentencing.

He faces up to 20 years in jail.

Lawyer Damian Williams said that police used cryptocurrency tracing strategies to find the Bitcoin.

“For almost 10 years, the whereabouts of this massive chunk of missing Bitcoin had ballooned into an over $3.3bn mystery,” he said.

“This case shows that we won’t stop following the money, no matter how expertly hidden, even to a circuit board in the bottom of a popcorn tin.”

At the time this was the biggest cryptocurrency seizure in US historical past, however it was subsequently surpassed in February when greater than $4bn in stolen Bitcoin from the 2016 Bitfinex hack was confiscated.

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Credit: myjoyonline

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