Have you heard of the Silk Road? Nope, not the ancient trade routes between the East and the West, but the rather sinister darknet drug marketplace.
Recently a man was arrested on the Silk Road, for trying to launder $19 million of bitcoin earned on the drug marketplace, according to Homeland Security.
The man’s name is Hugh Haney, who has been charged with money laundering and one count of engaging in a financial transaction using illegally-gotten gains. If he is found guilty, he could face up to 30 years behind bars.
For those not too familiar with the Silk Road, it was one of the original and hugely popular darknet marketplaces for buying and selling drugs, and other illegal (and legal) items. People who could access the dark web would definitely trade extensively on the Silk Road.
This man was caught trying to launder close to $19 million dollars worth of bitcoin, which is a huge sum. Once Haney tried moving the stolen funds to an unidentified crypto exchange, the Homeland Security was quick to identify him.
Haney tried to defend himself by saying that the large amounts of bitcoin were proceeds from bitcoin mining, but the Homeland Security allegedly traced transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain back to the Silk Road. The bitcoin was earned back in 2012 and 2013.
The Silk Road was later shut down by the FBI in 2013 and its founder Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The site accrued a user base of 100,000 customers, in its two and a half year lifespan.
However, BTC continues to be one of the most extensively used forms of payment on the dark web.