The FBI are investigating possible ties between bitcoin exchanges and an online drug market Silk Road, an illegal online market which was closed down by the FBI one year ago. In addition to searching for customer transaction logs from every exchange, both the FBI and prosecutors are investigating whether this exchange as well as others companies may have been involved in the transactions. The investigations have just kicked off and no conclusion has been made as to whether or not these companies were involved in these transactions.
As part of the investigation, the FBI seized a huge cache of Bitcoins, a currency that was used in Silkroad transactions. Authorities say they have managed to seize 144,000 bitcoins, worth $28.5 million at the present exchange rate, making it the largest seizure of that crypto currency to have been seized. The cache is believed to belong to Ross Ulbricht, a founder of the Silk Road. While the FBI did not disclose how they concluded the bitcoins belong to Ross Ulbricht, they were certain they were his.
Silk Road was a notorious online marketplace which allowed drug barons to sell and purchase drugs using bitcoins. Before it was shut down by the authorities, over $1.2 billion worth of trade was conducted on the website exclusively in a virtual currency Bitcoin.
When the FBI ordered its closure on 2 October 2013, the man allegedly behind it, Ross Ulbricht was arrested and charged for running an illegal business. Authorities claimed they violated money laundering act by allowing their users to purchase drugs and other illegal goods on their website, an offense which carries a sentence of 20 years in jail. Ross was using his laptop in San Francisco at a time of his arrest and authorities were expected to use the laptop for proof he is really the kingpin of Silk Road.