Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht to Forfeit $3 Billion in BTC; Extinguishes Debt to Government

Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht to Forfeit $3 Billion in BTC; Extinguishes Debt to Government

Ross Ulbricht, the jailed founder of now-defunct darknet marketplace Silk Road, will give up his ownership of bitcoin worth about $3 billion to pay off a $183 million debt owed to the U.S. government .

A recent court filing revealed that Ulbricht’s holdings of digital assets include bitcoin, bitcoin cash, bitcoin SV, and bitcoin gold.

The Justice Department seized the funds in 2020 from a hacker who took advantage of the hack before Silk Road shut down and moved bitcoin to private wallets in 2013 — in Ulbricht Sentenced to life imprisonment for five years later. The 69,370 BTC seized when Silk Road closed is now worth nearly $3 billion.

The Silk Road Market, often referred to as the first darknet market, operated from 2011 until the FBI shut it down in 2014. During this period, it facilitated the sale of a variety of illegal items including drugs, weapons and other illegal activities.


In 2021, the Justice Department decided to strike a deal with him that would have him lose any claims for the funds. In exchange, the department will pay his compensation at the time of the bitcoin auction.

According to court documents:

The parties agree that the net gain realized from the sale of the asset [bitcoin] Money forfeited under this Agreement shall be included in any outstanding balance of the monetary judgment.

With the settlement, Ulbricht no longer has to worry about the damages he might pay if he had a chance at freedom. It also means he can earn money in prison. But his life sentence remains in effect.

Ulbricht’s fight for freedom continues

According to his mother, Lyn Ulbricht, who had been campaigning for his release, it was still a major victory.

“We are pleased that the financial penalty against Ross was dropped, just as other false charges against him were dropped in federal court after trial,” she said.

For Ulbricht, his campaign continues to gain support from a variety of people, including the crypto community.

The Silk Road founder auctioned off some of his personal artwork as NFTs on SuperRare. Additionally, FreeRossDAO is currently working to secure Ulbricht’s freedom.

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