In a statement the U.S. Justice Department stated, it had seized more than $1 billion worth of bitcoin associated with the underground online marketplace Silk Road.
The Justice Department is seeking the forfeiture of the bitcoins, which had been in the possession of an unnamed hacker who had stolen them from the “notorious” website.
The seizure of the cryptocurrency is the biggest ever made by the U.S. government, said the DoJ.
The government will now try to prove in court the items are subject to forfeiture. In the past the government had auctioned off forfeited cryptocurrencies.
In 2013, the underground website, Silk Road, was seized by the government with officials describing the notorious website as a massive illegal drug and money laundering marketplace. In 2015, Silk Road’s creator, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted for seven counts of enabling illegal drug sales via bitcoin. He has been sentenced to life in prison, and in 2017, he lost a parole appeal.