U.S. Government to Auction $117 Million in Confiscated Bitcoin from Silk Road Case

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Bitcoin Going to Zero

The U.S. government has filed a notice revealing its plans to auction approximately $117 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) that was seized during a dark web drug bust.

In a notice dated January 8, the government said it aims to auction nearly 2,875 BTC seized from Ryan Farace and Sean Bridges in 2021, along with an additional 59 BTC belonging to Farace alone.

At the time of the filing, the seized Bitcoins were valued at around $133 million.

DOJ Charged Farace in 2018 After Silk Road Bust


The U.S. Department of Justice had previously charged Farace in 2018 for illegally selling Xanax on the dark web.

According to the DOJ, Farace distributed drugs through sales on the dark web and received payments in Bitcoin.

Farace, operating under the pseudonym Xanaxman, admitted as part of a plea deal that he used the infamous dark web marketplace Silk Road.

In a separate announcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed that both Farace and his father, Joseph Farace, had been sentenced to prison for money laundering conspiracy.

The government’s auction notice stated that anyone interested in claiming “interest in the forfeited property” could do so within 60 days.

This move follows a U.S. appeals court’s finalization of a mandate in December, formalizing the forfeiture of 69,370 Bitcoins related to the now-defunct Silk Road dark web market.

What is the Silk Road?


The “Silk Road” refers to an infamous online black market that was operational from 2011 until its shutdown by the FBI in 2013.

The marketplace was primarily known for the sale of illegal drugs, but it also featured other illicit goods and services.

What made Silk Road particularly notable was its use of Bitcoin as a means of transaction.

In fact, this was one of the first instances where Bitcoin gained significant attention, although for illicit reasons.

report by blockchain tracker Elliptic estimated that Silk Road earned a total commission of around 614,000 BTC.

The founder of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, is currently serving a life sentence in jail.

US Government Owns Over $5 Billion Bitcoin


The U.S. government has become one of the largest holders of Bitcoin (BTC), acquiring approximately 200,000 coins (worth around $5 billion) through seizures related to criminal activities.

The digital assets were seized from cybercriminals and darknet markets and are securely stored offline in encrypted hardware wallets controlled by various federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The fate of the U.S. government’s Bitcoin holdings has sparked curiosity among crypto traders.

Any decision to sell these assets could potentially impact prices and send ripples throughout the trillion-dollar digital asset market.

However, the government’s approach is not driven by market speculation or timing.

Instead, the accumulation of BTC is a byproduct of the lengthy legal process of confiscating and managing these assets.

Jarod Koopman, the executive director of the IRS’s cyber and forensics services section, told the Wall Street Journal that the government does not actively trade or time the market.

Instead, their actions are dictated by the timing of the legal process.

Recent seizures alone have added over 200,000 Bitcoins to the government’s coffers, and even after selling a portion of them, the remaining holdings are valued at over $5 billion.

The total stash is likely even larger.