- The return of $3.36 billion in stolen bitcoin was announced by the American Department of Justice in 2021.
- The coins had been lost for more than ten years, and their value has since skyrocketed.
The second-largest recovery in history, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), involved the seizure of $3.36 billion in stolen bitcoin assets. The cryptocurrency haul was seized in 2021 from the American home of a crypto hacker who had previously “illegally” acquired more than 50,000 bitcoins (BTC) from the now-defunct Silk Road illegal dark-web marketplace.
Following James Zhong’s Friday guilty plea to one count of wire fraud, who was in charge of receiving the 50,676 Bitcoin in September 2012, the US Attorney’s Office made the disclosure. One Bitcoin was worth about $10 ten years ago.
In addition, law enforcement found $661,900 in cash, 25 bitcoin Casascius coins (worth approximately 174 bitcoin), an additional 11.116 bitcoin, and a few silver and gold-colored bars.
According to U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, the location of this enormous amount of bitcoin has been unknown for almost ten years. This seizure, which is still the second-largest economic seizure in the history of the U.S. The Department of Justice, was at the time the biggest cryptocurrency seizure episode.
Roughly 51,680.32473733 Bitcoin, ZHONG’s 80% stake in RE&D Investments, LLC, a Memphis-based business with significant real estate holdings, $661,900 in cash seized from ZHONG’s home, and various metals seized from ZHONG’s home are all subject to forfeiture requests from the government.
The maximum sentence for Zhong’s alleged crime is 20 years in prison.
The location of this sizable amount of missing Bitcoin had become a $3.3 billion mystery over the course of almost ten years, according to the U.S. Damian Williams is the Southern District of New York’s attorney. The lawyer claimed that “cryptocurrency tracing” and “good old-fashioned police work” were used by police departments to find the funds.
One of Zhong’s BTC addresses disclosed in a legal brief matches one posted by Bitcointalk user “Loaded,” some social media users noticed after the DOJ’s official statement. Bitmex Research tweeted: “In March 2017, Bitcointalk user ‘Loaded’ signed a message from an address with 40,000 bitcoin, asking to do a 1 to 1 swap for ‘Bitcoin Unlimited’ with Roger Ver.
The community has been terrorised by these hacks, which continued after the Silk Road shuttered. Crooks still have access to cryptocurrency platforms. The cryptocurrency industry is still plagued by large-scale hacks like this one.
The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, Binance, experienced a $570 million hack in October 2022. According to the business, a smart contract flaw allowed hackers to take advantage of the BSC Token Hub cross-chain bridge.