Reports have claimed that US government officials are leaving millions of dollars of illegal Bitcoin funds accessible to criminals in wallets that they have supposedly seized – including the mysterious billion-dollar wallet that suddenly re-appeared earlier this month.
On November 5, a Bitcoin wallet containing nearly $1 billion was suddenly emptied after lying dormant for almost five years. Not long afterwards, the US government confirmed that it had seized the funds, announcing that they were connected to the now-defunct Silk Road online marketplace.
Now Coinfirm has discovered that there are still sizeable sums of money held on forked addresses that could still be accessed by the wallet’s owner – identified only as ‘Individual X’.
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Reportedly, the owner of the private keys for the main wallet could still have access to the following funds:
- 693701 Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), presently worth approximately $310,000
- 69370 Super Bitcoin (SBTC), which is presently worth around $66,000
- 69370.11453606 Bitcoin Private (BTCP), which is equivalent to approximately $11,000
It isn't clear why the US Government overlooked these funds – whether it was an oversight or deliberate - but either way it emphasizes the difficulty of cracking down on illegal Bitcoin activity. In addition to forked addresses, there are also currency forks, as well as entirely separate cryptocurrencies to keep tabs on.
It is worth noting, however, that cryptocurrencies are not illegal in of themselves and have plenty of legitimate uses.
That being said, despite Bitcoin's surge in value this year, it could still benefit from more mainstream applications. The recent announcement that PayPal now accepts the cryptocurrency for buying and selling should also help with that.
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Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services. After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.