The Silk Road debacle has made history in all the wrong ways. Now it looks like something might be coming out the ongoing saga, and the Bitcoin market may be on track to take another massive sale of tokens that were caught up in the legal process. The impact that the sale of bitcoins from the Mt. Gox horde is still debated. Earlier this year around 16,000 bitcoins were sold into the open market, and many think it disrupted to price of BTC.
There is no telling why nearly $800 million USD worth of bitcoin is being shuffled around by parties unknown. Like everything connected to the Silk Road, there seems to be more than a few layers of mystery surrounding the transfer of 111,000+ BTC and BCH into more than 80 smaller wallets. No official comment by anyone in the legal system regarding the movement of BTC from the Silk Road wallet has been made, and there also doesn’t seem to be much of an official position concerning the massive haul of seized cryptocurrency.
In other cases it is commonplace for US authorities to auction off seized assets from illegal ventures, which would suggest that the Silk Road stash will be sold off at some point. Whenever anything happens with this wallet, it seems like the now-jailed Silk Road entrepreneur Ross Ulbricht is brought up. Whether or not he is cooperating with authorities, or if his private key was coughed up is anyone’s guess.
Bitcoin is Still a Mysterious Market
From a trading perspective it is easy to speculate that a massive pile of BTC being put onto the market is going to be pretty bad. The entire cryptocurrency market has been under serious pressure all year, and more than 100,000 BTC being liquidated is about as bearish an event as could be imagined. It is possible that whoever is moving the stash around is going to try to and sell the crypto for as much as possible, but it will be hard for them to cover up their sales once they begin.
There is the possibility that the Silk Road stash is just being shifted out of one wallet for some other, totally unknown reason. It has been pointed out by Ulbricht’s attorneys, Dratel and Lindsay Lewis, that according to forensic analysis Ulbricht’s credentials were used to log into the platform a month and a half after he was arrested. It is possible that he was compelled to do so by the authorities during the course of the investigation, but it is also possible that other parties unknown have access to the Silk Road stash.
During the course of the investigation, prior to his arrest, it is known that Ross Ulbricht was shook-down by a crooked DEA agent. Carl Mark Force was apparently happy to sell Ross Ulbricht information about how the investigation against him was progressing, and it is possible that Ross Ulbricht’s keys somehow were transmitted to people who would have some distance from the operation.
Not So Secret Anymore
The times when Bitcoin meant a black-hole that few know about, and was basically untraceable are long gone. Smaller-scale Bitcoin transactions are still probably safe from the eyes of law enforcement and a dedicated online group of crypto-watchers, but the big wallets are under constant surveillance.
Whatever is going on with the Silk Road stash, it is nearly certain that it will play out in a very public fashion. It doesn’t really matter if the assets are in one wallet, 80 wallets or a thousand wallets, if the Bitcoins start flowing out piecemeal via global exchanges, the “fix” will be in. It is very unlikely that the current market for Bitcoin can withstand a big sale, especially with the psychological ramifications that would accompany the Silk Road stash hitting the market.