FBI’s Bitcoin wallet targeted with micro payments after Silk Road founder’s arrest

7 Oct 2013

The arrest of online black market Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht last week has had one unexpected consequence – the FBI’s own Bitcoin wallet has been identified publicly on Reddit and is being swamped with micro Bitcoin payments and angry messages.

The FBI alleges that Silk Road had total sales of more than 8.5m Bitcoins, collecting US$1.2bn in revenue and US$80m in commissions.

So far, the FBI has managed to seize 26,000 Bitcoins (US$3.5m), but there are believed to be 600,000 Bitcoins in the wild allegedly belonging to Ulbricht and his associates that the FBI is trying to track down.

The transparency of the Bitcoin blockchain has, however, led to users identifying the FBI Bitcoin wallet as part of its seizure of Silk Road.

Reddit users have identified the wallet and since last week there has been an influx of micropayments along with messages into the FBI’s Bitcoin wallet typically to the tune of 0.00000001 Bitcoins, along with public note messages of anger and defiance.

Much of the anger is directed towards a perceived injustice in that the US$80m commissions weren’t all Ulbricht’s commissions and that many of the goods traded on Silk Road were legitimate.

Bitcoin image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years