Sunday, October 6, 2013

Protest by payment: Users ‘locate’ FBI Silk Road wallet, send mocking Bitcoin donations

Protest by payment: Users ‘locate’ FBI Silk Road wallet, send mocking Bitcoin donations

Internet users are sending tiny donations with critical messages to what they believe is the FBI’s Bitcoin wallet. The wallet, which is worth US$3.3 million, is thought to contain digital funds seized from users of the online black market Silk Road.
Following the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht (alias “Dread Pirate Roberts”) and the shutdown of underground online marketplace Silk Road, which Ulbricht is suspected to have run, Reddit usersdiscovered what they say is an FBI-linked public wallet containing more than 27,000 BTC (one Bitcoin is equal to $122 at the time of writing).

While it could not be verified who owns the wallet, which was created on October 2, a massive amount of transactions came after the statement in the indictment against Ulbricht, which says that federal agents are authorized to “seize any and all Bitcoins contained in wallet files residing on Silk Road servers.”

It was not long before Bitcoin users came up with a way to attract the web’s attention to the alleged FBI haul, using the site to send tiny donations with publicly streamed messages to the account. The wallet has since been dubbed “Silkroad Seized Coins” on the page.

The donations could be as small as .000001 BTC, but each one enabled users to post their opinions of the FBI’s closure of Silk Road – which, for the most part, were far from approving.

One public note directly referred to Dread Pirate Roberts’ arrest, saying that he was not “the bad guy,”and urging others not to be “brainwashed.” Another one questioned: “Members of the FBI, are you more interested in control or in justice?” 

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