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US DOJ Announces Seizure of $4.46B in Cryptocurrency – Article Review

A recent announcement from the United States Department of Justice revealed that United States law enforcement agencies have seized over $3 billion worth of bitcoin after it had been stolen over 10 years ago on the dark web market called Silk Road. Silk Road, one of the most infamous black markets on the dark web has often been used by criminal elements to avoid detection from law enforcement agencies.

The accused, James Zhong, has already pled guilty to committing wire fraud in court to obtain the 50,000 bitcoins in 2012. Zhong, who resides in Gainesville, Georgia, could be facing up to a 20-year sentence in prison for his crimes.

Zhong hid the 50,676 bitcoins on a computer hiding in his home. The agency was also able to recover over $600,000 in cash, a handful of gold and silver bars, and an additional 25 Casascius coins. The seizure of the cryptocurrency from Zhong’s home is the single-largest seizure of its kind, and the second-largest financial seizure of all time.

The seizure comes a few months after the Department of Justice arrested and charged a couple from New York for hacking cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, stealing almost 120,000 bitcoins. At the time of the seizure, the bitcoin was worth $71 million, which has since blown out to over $3 billion.

United States Attorney Damian Williams commented on the seizure by stating that the Department of Justice was determined to recover the stolen funds, even if the funds are well hidden or have been gone for a long time stating that they “won’t stop following the money”.

The case has sparked a discussion about cryptocurrency and regulation, as the newly formed currencies have quickly become a favorite amongst criminal enterprises. Outside of the criminal elements, most of the cryptocurrency world agrees that regulation is necessary to help combat the more dangerous parts of the industry, from users to wallets and trading platforms.

However, traders and cryptocurrency companies are still keen to make sure that there isn’t over-regulation. Over-regulation by the government would cripple the market while it is still very new and would deny many an opportunity to invest in a unique space with growing investment opportunities.

What are your thoughts on the record-breaking seizure? And how do you think the world of cryptocurrencies can be best regulated?