FBI Trolled Through Bitcoin Over Silk Road Seizure - The UpStream

FBI Trolled Through Bitcoin Over Silk Road Seizure

posted Friday Oct 11, 2013 by Scott Ertz

FBI Trolled Through Bitcoin Over Silk Road Seizure

By now we probably all know about Silk Road, but for those who do not, let me give you a quick overview. The site, founded by Ross Ulbricht, was a notorious hotbed of illegal drug activity. Aided by Bitcoin, the semi-legitimate online currency of underground activities, Ulbricht was able to keep his sales and clientele anonymous, amassing over 600,000 Bitcoins, valued at over $80 million.

The FBI, after discovering the site and identifying its founder, arrested Ulbricht, shut down the site and seized 26,000 Bitcoins that were in the site's wallet. As it turns out, the coins taken did not belong to Ulbricht, but instead to customers of the site, some of whom were purchasing drugs, but others were purchasing legitimate products - all losing their theoretical money.

Those coins, as all Bitcoins, are stored in an online wallet. The wallet is, supposedly private, but the clever people who use this service tracked down the FBI's wallet and have been harassing them over the seizure. Some are trying to encourage the government to return the currency citing possible legitimate purposes, while others are using the opportunity to protest the government's anti-drug policy.

All of this is being done through microtransactions, but not the kind that EA is famous for. Instead, users are transferring very small amounts of coin, somewhere in the vicinity of 0.00000001 BTC, into the FBI's wallet. Now, why would someone do this if they disagree with the FBI's seizure? Because, during a transaction, you can post a public message regarding the transaction. In this case, the comments are pretty interesting.

Supporting legitimate online purchases,

Many items sold through Silk Road were perfectly legal.

There is no way to know whether these funds were to be used for illicit purchases. Users should be allowed to withdraw their funds. source

Supporting recreational drug use,

The only way to have a drug-free world is to have a people-free world. And even then, the animals will get stoned. source

Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. -Abraham Lincoln. source

The notes continue from there, but they all seem to fall into those same 2 categories; some clever, some insulting, none persuading. Responding childishly to a potentially legal seizure of funds from a known drug dealer, however, is probably not the best way to convince people that Bitcoins are a legitimate currency and should be treated as such. With supporters like these, who needs detractors, right?

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