Silk Road Thief Who Stole $3.4B In BTC Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison
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Silk Road Thief Who Stole $3.4B In BTC Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison

The Silk Road thief who stole more than 50,000 BTC in 2012 was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence earlier today.
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The Department of Justice announced on Friday, April 14th, that James Zhong, a thief who stole more than 50,000 BTC from Silk Road in 2012 received a one-year prison sentence. At the very end of the last month, US authorities also announced they are in the process of selling the seized Bitcoin, worth around $3.4 billion at the time of the seizure, and that they plan to complete the offloading by the end of the year.

James Zhong, The Thief Who Stole 50k+ BTC, Receives a One-Year Prison Sentence

This Friday, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams, revealed that James Zhong, the thief who stole more than 50,000 Bitcoin from Silk Road, received a one-year prison sentence. The sentence is half the length of what the authorities initially requested.

In a filing from March 31, the Department of Justice requested that Zhong be given a two-year sentence arguing that the punishment, in combination with the seizure of the stolen assets, would help deter other criminals. US authorities were already cleared to undertake the sale of the Bitcoin that was seized during the search of Zhong’s Georgia home in 2021.

At the time of the search, the 51,680 BTC were worth around $3.4 billion and are now estimated at over $1.57 billion. Two weeks ago, the government revealed it had already sold some of the Bitcoin and announced there would be four more offloading rounds before the end of 2023. 

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US Government Already Sold Bitcoin in 2023, Will Sell 41K More Before its End

On Friday, March 31st, the Department of Justice revealed in a filing it has already sold nearly 10,000 BTC worth more than $200 million two weeks earlier. In the same filing, it detailed the plans to sell the remaining 41,000 in four additional rounds before the end of the current year.

At the time, the news of both the planned sale as well as of the already completed offloading caused a debate within the crypto community on whether the dumping of a large quantity of the world’s first cryptocurrency would have a notable impact on its price. Tron founder Justin Sun stepped in and offered to purchase the Bitcoin OTC at a discount to help preserve market stability.

As far as can be discerned from the publicly available data, the government made no effort to contact Sun over the potential sale of the Bitcoin. Despite this fact, it is relatively unlikely the world’s largest cryptocurrency is at risk due to the planned sale. The sale already completed on March 14th had no notable impact on price, and Bitcoin has been on a mostly continuous rise since the date.

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