A lot of attention has been focused on the trial of Ross Ulbricht and the subsequent US Marshalls auction of some 700,000 Bitcoins found in the man’s possession, but Ulbricht is not the only person connected with the dark web marketplace who’s gotten in trouble.
Aussie Caught Long Before Dread Pirate Roberts
In late 2012, Richard Pollard from Warrandyte, Victoria, Australia, was arrested on charges of commercial trafficking in narcotics via Silk Road. He received an eleven-year sentence last October, and now that his conviction is finalized, Australian authorities have had to decide what to do with the roughly $7 million US dollars’ worth of Bitcoins Pollard had been holding at the time of his arrest.
Specifically, police claimed in court that he had sold a total of 876 grams of methamphetamine, 2.8 kilograms of MDMA, 44 grams of cocaine, and 30 grams of ketamine. While he was not charged with trafficking in marijuana, during the raid on his home, authorities found five dozen plants.
The total bitcoins discovered was 24,518, which far dwarfed in value his stash of $58,000 in cash in value. At that time, the coins were worth far more, the average price at the time of his sentencing (when the state was allowed to dispose of them) being around $320 – a total value of almost a million more than they are worth now.
Unclear Where, When, and How Bitcoin to be Sold
The Asset Confiscation Operations (ACO) division of the Victorian government will be handling the sale of the bitcoins. Locals such as Asher Tan of Australian-based CoinJar hope that authorities don’t decide to just dump the coins on the Australian market. Such a vast increase in supply would depress the market. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he hoped authorities decide to go with a US or European-based exchange which could better absorb the volume – and thus would likely net the state a better payload.
The government understands the precariousness of dealing in Bitcoin and a spokesman of the ACO told the Herald:
The Department of Justice and Regulation’s ACO unit is assessing options for selling the bitcoins in this case. With the volatility in price for bitcoins, it is important that the sale of the coins on the open market is done at a time and way to get the best value.
No timeline for the sale or guidelines for potential buyers has been yet announced, but CCN will keep you posted of any pressing updates as things develop.
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