Simon Howis


U.S. Attorney Announces: Department of justice Historic $3.36 Billion Cryptocurrency Seizure And Conviction In Connection With Silk Road Dark Web Fraud

In November 2021, Law Enforcement Seized Over 50,676 Bitcoin Hidden in Devices in Defendant JAMES ZHONG’s Home; ZHONG Has Now Pled Guilty to Unlawfully Obtaining that Bitcoin From the Silk Road Dark Web in 2012

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Tyler Hatcher, the Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (“IRS-CI”), announced today that JAMES ZHONG pled guilty to committing wire fraud in September 2012 when he unlawfully obtained over 50,000 Bitcoin from the Silk Road dark web internet marketplace. ZHONG pled guilty on Friday, November 4, 2022, before United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.

On November 9, 2021, pursuant to a judicially authorized premises search warrant of ZHONG’s Gainesville, Georgia, house, law enforcement seized approximately 50,676.17851897 Bitcoin, then valued at over $3.36 billion. This seizure was then the largest cryptocurrency seizure in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice and today remains the Department’s second largest financial seizure ever. The Government is seeking to forfeit, collectively: approximately 51,680.32473733 Bitcoin; ZHONG’s 80% interest in RE&D Investments, LLC, a Memphis-based company with substantial real estate holdings; $661,900 in cash seized from ZHONG’s home; and various metals also seized from ZHONG’s home.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “James Zhong committed wire fraud over a decade ago when he stole approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from Silk Road. For almost ten years, the whereabouts of this massive chunk of missing Bitcoin had ballooned into an over $3.3 billion mystery. Thanks to state-of-the-art cryptocurrency tracing and good old-fashioned police work, law enforcement located and recovered this impressive cache of crime proceeds. This case shows that we won’t stop following the money, no matter how expertly hidden, even to a circuit board in the bottom of a popcorn tin.”

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher said: “Mr. Zhong executed a sophisticated scheme designed to steal bitcoin from the notorious Silk Road Marketplace. Once he was successful in his heist, he attempted to hide his spoils through a series of complex transactions which he hoped would be enhanced as he hid behind the mystery of the ‘darknet.’ IRS-CI Special Agents are the best in the world at following the money through cyberspace or wherever our financial investigations lead us. We will continue to work with our partners at the US Attorney’s Office to track down these criminals and bring them to justice.”

According to the allegations contained in filings in Manhattan federal court and statements made during court proceedings:

Silk Road was an online “darknet” black market. In operation from approximately 2011 until 2013, Silk Road was used by numerous drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute massive quantities of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to many buyers and to launder all funds passing through it. In 2015, following a groundbreaking prosecution by this Office, Silk Road’s founder Ross Ulbricht was convicted by a unanimous jury and sentenced to life in prison.

In September 2012, ZHONG executed a scheme to defraud Silk Road of its money and property by (a) creating a string of approximately nine Silk Road accounts (the “Fraud Accounts”) in a manner designed to conceal his identity; (b) triggering over 140 transactions in rapid succession in order to trick Silk Road’s withdrawal-processing system into releasing approximately 50,000 Bitcoin from its Bitcoin-based payment system into ZHONG’s accounts; and (c) transferring this Bitcoin into a variety of separate addresses also under ZHONG’s control, all in a manner designed to prevent detection, conceal his identity and ownership, and obfuscate the Bitcoin’s source.

While executing the September 2012 fraud, ZHONG did not list any item or service for sale on Silk Road, nor did he buy any item or service on Silk Road. ZHONG registered the accounts by providing the bare minimum of information required by Silk Road to create the account; the Fraud Accounts were merely a conduit for ZHONG to defraud Silk Road of Bitcoin.

ZHONG funded the Fraud Accounts with an initial deposit of between 200 and 2,000 Bitcoin. After the initial deposit, ZHONG then quickly executed a series of withdrawals. Through his scheme to defraud, ZHONG was able to withdraw many times more Bitcoin out of Silk Road than he had deposited in the first instance. As an example, on September 19, 2012, ZHONG deposited 500 Bitcoin into a Silk Road wallet. Less than five seconds after making the initial deposit, ZHONG executed five withdrawals of 500 Bitcoin in rapid succession — i.e., within the same second — resulting in a net gain of 2,000 Bitcoin. As another example, a different Fraud Account made a single deposit and over 50 Bitcoin withdrawals before the account ceased its activity. ZHONG moved this Bitcoin out of Silk Road and, in a matter of days, consolidated them into two high-value amounts.

Nearly five years after ZHONG’s fraud, in August 2017, solely by virtue of ZHONG’s possession of the 50,000 Bitcoin that he unlawfully obtained from Silk Road, ZHONG received a matching amount of a related cryptocurrency — 50,000 Bitcoin Cash (“BCH Crime Proceeds”) — on top of the 50,000 Bitcoin. In August 2017, in a hard fork coin split, Bitcoin split into two cryptocurrencies, traditional Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (“BCH”). When this split occurred, any Bitcoin address that had a Bitcoin balance (as ZHONG’s addresses did) now had the exact same balance on both the Bitcoin blockchain and on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. As of August 2017, ZHONG thus possessed 50,000 BCH in addition to the 50,000 Bitcoin that ZHONG unlawfully obtained from Silk Road. ZHONG thereafter exchanged through an overseas cryptocurrency exchange all of the BCH Crime Proceeds for additional Bitcoin, amounting to approximately 3,500 Bitcoin of additional crime proceeds. Collectively, by the last quarter of 2017, ZHONG thus possessed approximately 53,500 Bitcoin of total crime proceeds (the “Crime Proceeds”).

The Government’s Seizure of Forfeitable Property

On November 9, 2021, pursuant to a judicially authorized premises search warrant (the “Search”), IRS-CI agents recovered approximately 50,491.06251844 Bitcoin of the Crime Proceeds from ZHONG’s Gainesville, Georgia, house. Specifically, law enforcement located 50,491.06251844 Bitcoin of the approximately 53,500 Bitcoin Crime Proceeds (a) in an underground floor safe; and (b) on a single-board computer that was submerged under blankets in a popcorn tin stored in a bathroom closet. In addition, law enforcement recovered $661,900 in cash, 25 Casascius coins (physical bitcoin) with an approximate value of 174 Bitcoin, 11.1160005300044 additional Bitcoin, and four one-ounce silver-colored bars, three one-ounce gold-colored bars, four 10-ounce silver-colored bars, and one gold-colored coin.

Beginning in or around March 2022, ZHONG began voluntarily surrendering to the Government additional Bitcoin that ZHONG had access to and had not dissipated. In total, ZHONG voluntarily surrendered 1,004.14621836 additional Bitcoin.

Forfeiture Actions

In connection with ZHONG’s guilty plea, on November 4, 2022, Judge Gardephe entered a Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture as to Specific Property and Substitute Assets/Money Judgment forfeiting ZHONG’s interest in the following property:

ZHONG’s 80% interest in RE&D Investments, LLC, a Memphis-based company with substantial real estate holdings;
$661,900 in United States currency seized from ZHONG’s home on November 9, 2021;
Metal items, consisting of four one-ounce silver-colored bars, three one-ounce gold-colored bars, four 10-ounce silver-colored bars, and one gold-colored coin, all seized from ZHONG’s home on November 9, 2021;
11.1160005300044 Bitcoin seized from ZHONG’s home on November 9, 2021;
25 Casascius coins (physical Bitcoin) with an approximate value of 174 Bitcoin, collectively, seized from ZHONG’s home on November 9, 2021;
23.7112850 Bitcoin provided by ZHONG on April 27, 2022;
115.02532155 Bitcoin provided by ZHONG on April 28, 2022; and
4.57427222 Bitcoin provided by ZHONG on June 8, 2022.
Today, in United States v. Ross Ulbricht, S1 14 Cr. 68 (LGS), the Government filed a motion for entry of an Amended Preliminary Order of Forfeiture, seeking to forfeit approximately 51,351.89785803 Bitcoin traceable to Silk Road, valued at approximately $3,388,817,011.90 at the time of seizure, as follows:

50,491.06251844 Bitcoin seized from ZHONG’s home on November 9, 2021;
825.38833159 Bitcoin provided by ZHONG on March 25, 2022; and
35.4470080 Bitcoin provided by ZHONG on May 25, 2022.
* * *

ZHONG, 32, of Gainesville, Georgia, and Athens, Georgia, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. ZHONG is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Gardephe on February 22, 2023, at 3:00 p.m.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation’s Western Cyber Crimes Unit of the Los Angeles Field Office. Mr. Williams also thanked the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in Athens, Georgia, for its support and assistance with the case.

The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney David R. Felton is in charge of the case.


During a recent appearance at the Web Summit held in Portugal, prominent investor Tim Draper predicted that Bitcoin , the largest cryptocurrency, could reach $250,000 in six months.

Draper, an early investor at companies such as Hotmail and Skype, predicted that female Bitcoiners would significantly expand the largest cryptocurrency user base.

According to research conducted by New York Life Investment Management, women control 51% of wealth in the United States.

Back in 2014, he correctly predicted that the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency would exceed $10,000 in three years, with Bitcoin reaching $20,000 by the end of 2017.

But to forecast $250,000 by 2023, BTC will need to soar another 1,090% to reach his target. It is highly unlikely that it will be able to reach that price level within the next six months.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk yet again denied being Satoshi Nakamoto but claimed that he knows the true identity of the elusive Bitcoin founder.

In an interview last week, Elon Musk claimed he knows the true identity of Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of the real inventor of Bitcoin remains a mystery almost a decade and a half after the whitepaper on the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency was published. Online rumors have persistently claimed that Elon Musk is the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, but Musk has always denied those assertions.

As for the interview in question, Musk had made other startling assertions in the same podcast, including claims of putting humans on Mars before the end of this decade. Asked when SpaceX will land a human being on the Red Planet, Musk claimed that it would take about ten years in the worst-case scenario. Musk is known to shoot from the hip, but his latest claims are now attracting much attention from many quarters.

Elon Musk’s guess about the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto came in an episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast. Answering Fridman’s question about whether Musk is the real Satoshi, the Tesla and SpaceX founder emphatically reiterated that he is not the mysterious Bitcoin creator. When pressed further about the ambiguity surrounding who founded Bitcoin, Musk took an extra-long pause before coming up with his theory on the identity of Nakamoto. According to him, computer scientist and cryptographer Nick Szabo is very likely the man who created Bitcoin as he wrote about many of the ideas related to cryptocurrencies much before the technology was born. For example, Szabo helped develop smart contracts and made an early form of cryptocurrency called Bit Gold before the invention of Bitcoin.

Szabo Denies Being Satoshi Nakamoto

Musk is not the first to speculate about Szabo being the elusive Bitcoin founder. There have been reams of newsprint and online articles devoted to establishing the Hungarian programmer as the creator of Bitcoin, including an article in the New York Times in 2017, which pointed at him being Satoshi Nakamoto. However, while many have speculated that Szabo could be the real Satoshi, the man himself has repeatedly denied those rumors. So it’s not immediately clear if he knows about Musk’s hypothesis and, if so, what he has to say about it.

The true identity of the Bitcoin inventor remains a mystery, and there are many claimants to that title. An Australian programmer called Craig Wright is one of them. However, many observers believe he is a conman who has nothing to do with creating the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. Wright, however, recently won a Bitcoin-related court case filed against him by the family of his former business associate, Dave Kleiman. In its verdict, the Florida jury seemingly agreed with Wright’s claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto while awarding $100 million in intellectual property rights to Kleiman’s estate.

How to become millionaire trading crypto currency. Cryptocurrency have been a hot topic for many for quite some time now. However, not many fully understand the concept and it can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with the market yet. Like any other investment, it is best for you to first dip your toes into the crypto pool before you go deeper.

Here are top 10 pro crypto trading tips for making millions successfully:

1. Invest in what you understand
It’s a very important factor that always buy what you understand, as before investing or trading in cryptocurrencies, we have to understand about the project, about its technology, about its usecase in future, how good is their team, how they talk with the community members, so we have to understand these things before going in any investments and for day traders we have to understand the chart, its orderbook, whale manipulation so that we can easily do a successful trade.

2. There is no win-win situation in crypto trading
Crypto trading is like a game of balance. Sometimes nothing happens and the courses are very balanced in the middle. But every time a trader makes a profit, another suffers a loss.

3. Only invest what you can afford to lose
Many investors take loans to invest in a cryptocurrency which might be beneficial for few, but not for everyone. Crypto market is highly volatile, and it can anytime turn you from zero to hero and vice-versa. Also, the decentralization of cryptocurrency is susceptible to many factors like government regulations, hacks and so on. So, we suggest you to never go into debt and invest money that you can afford to lose.

4. Diversification is essential for successful trading
Multiple coins surged by 100x and 1000x in the year 2017. Such elevation can easily attract the interest of a novice investor and tempt them to put all their eggs in one basket.
Currently, the crypto market has over 1500 cryptocurrencies and you can gain the most out of this market by leveraging diversification technique. It is always a good idea to invest in 3-5 coins to minimize risk and maximize profit. To begin with, you can invest a little amount in bitcoins so that you can escalate the BTC rally and reduce loss while the value of altcoin goes down.

5. Don’t let your emotions take control
It is extremely easy for any trader to get caught up in the excitement associated with a winning streak or depression because of huge losses in a raw. In both situations, the outcome is the same; careless trading that can be extremely costly in the long run. If you open the trading charts and you are uncertain about what to do, it is best not to do anything. Trading when you are not mentally ready will only damage your trading strategy.

6. Avoid FOMO
There is lots of manipulation in cryptocurrency market, many factors are responsible to move the market in upward as well as downward directions. FOMO means fear of missing out, we should never buy in Fomo at all time high and then selling at all time low, so expect dips to come, have patience, don’t catch the running train, wait for the train to stop at next stop and catch it.
Remember when others are excited be fearful and when others are fearful be excited.

7. Use a stop-loss
Stop loss is a trading tool designed to limit the maximum loss of a trade by automatically liquidating assets once the market price reaches a specified value. There are multiple types of stop loss that can be used in different scenarios depending on the crypto market situation. It can sometimes be difficult to avoid loss due to the many possible market outcomes, but stop loss can be helpful even for new and inexperienced traders.

8. Take profits at a regular intervals
Since the crypto market is highly volatile, it’s common to see a coin gaining 20–30% in just a few hours. In such cases, investors may get greedy and hope the rise continues. Unfortunately, by failing to redeem profits at regular intervals, they miss out on quick gains.

Whatever your trading goal is, greed never wins. To be successful in the long run, you need to take profits at a regular interval. You never know when the trading asset will retrace and take back all the floating profits you left in the market.

9. Be aware of scam schemes
The rise in cryptocurrency interest has not been without consequences. One of the downsides of new investors entering the market is the increase in the number of scams, frauds, and stories of retail investors who lose their coins to shady ventures. From ICO scandals to wallet theft and fraud, regular consumers can fall prey to crime easily.

10. Learn from the mistakes
We all start as a newbie, we can’t be pro at starting stage, so when we are giving time in the market, then we should analyse daily why my trade is unsuccessful today, what are the measures i have to take next time so that it will be a profitable one, so learn and don’t repeat those mistakes then only we can earn.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have always been the top performers in the market and have always successfully enhanced the values of other top cryptocurrencies. But lately, BTC and ETH have been responsible for major losses in the investment community. Besides this, due to the falling dominance of these two cryptocurrencies, several other investors chose to sell off their investments and flee the crypto market. While there have been several small surges in the market, the profits were not exactly viable, and eventually, the values of these digital assets fell significantly. Toppling the condition of these top cryptocurrencies is Dogecoin, which surged by more than 150% within a week! It is quite clear that the recent rise in the price of DOGE is mainly driven by Elon’s controversial, yet successful acquisition of the social media giant Twitter. However, the market is still volatile and investors are looking for the top 10 cryptocurrencies that are affordable but accompany vast potential to skyrocket in the future. Here, we have listed the top 10 cryptocurrencies to buy in 2023 that can make your US$1 investment reach US$1,000 in the near future.

XRP is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an open-source distributed ledger called the XRP ledger. It is the native coin of Ripple, an enterprise blockchain company that facilitates global transactions. The creators claim that XRP was built for payments and can settle transactions faster than most other cryptocurrencies securely and efficiently. Currently, experts say that there are chances that XRP might win its case against SEC, which might also lead to a bullish price rally in 2023.

Cardano’s characteristics make it one of the best cryptocurrencies to buy in 2023. The crypto’s potential to survive vast macroeconomic problems and become an efficient investment option is one of the many characteristics that has attracted investors’ towards it. After the launch of the Vasil hardfork, Cardano’s prominence in the market has significantly increased.

Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu is known as the self-proclaimed ‘Dogecoin Killer’, yet its stagnant price actions are one of the many reasons has driven investors away from it. However, recent years have proved themselves to be quite productive for the SHIB community. The value of SHIB has surged almost 40% since Elon’s Twitter buyout news broke out, hence, it is quite obvious that the year 2023 will invite great prospects for the meme coin.

Dogecoin was launched in the year 2013, and since then, it has been performing exceptionally well, so much so that during the last couple of years it has evolved to become one of the leading cryptocurrencies in the entire cryptocurrency market. Dogecoin is Musk’s favorite cryptocurrency, which is why several investors have been trading in it. DOGE is basically the top-performing cryptocurrency that has toppled, both Bitcoin and Ethereum, making it a prospective cryptocurrency for 2023.

Polygon introduced its version of the Ethereum Hardfork, which makes its pricing more predictable, eventually making MATIC deflationary by burning coins. Its purpose is to avoid over-flooding the market with token circulation, ultimately improving the overall value of the token. It is one of the best cryptocurrencies for 100x gain.

Binance USD
Binance USD (BUSD) is a 1:1 USD-backed stablecoin issued by Binance. The coin can be used for multiple purposes like transferring your digital dollars (BUSD) anywhere in minutes, at low cost, and on the blockchain, investors can also trade BUSD on different exchanges and DEX, and deposit BUSD to earn an interest rate, to name a few.

Tether is the largest stablecoin by volume and has grabbed the attention of several crypto enthusiasts in the world. The stablecoin is a top choice among young investors who look for passive income, without jeopardizing a huge sum of money. Tether is definitely one of the top coins whose market capitalization will grow immensely in the coming months.

USD Coin
USD Coin is another safe investment choice that investors will prefer in 2023. USD Coin is a stablecoin that is pegged to the U.S. dollar on a 1:1 basis, just like Tether. Every unit of this cryptocurrency in circulation is backed up by US$1 that is held in reserve, in a mix of cash and short-term U.S. Treasury bonds. The stablecoin was originally launched on a limited basis in September 2018 and has currently expanded its dominion over the entire crypto market.

Tron is an extremely affordable cryptocurrency that has a huge growth potential in 2023. The TRON software supports smart contracts, various kinds of blockchain systems, and decentralized applications aka dApps. The cryptocurrency platform uses a transaction model similar to Bitcoin (BTC), namely UTXO. Transactions take place in a public ledger, where users can track the history of operations.

Uniswap runs on the Ethereum network and powers the Uniswap crypto exchange. This exchange works on an automated liquidity model for trading, with no involvement of a bank or a broker. Uniswap is also an open-source platform, so anyone can use the code to create new exchange platforms. This token was launched in 2020, and in one year grew to become one of the top cryptocurrencies in the town.

What Is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain, sometimes called distributed ledger technology (DLT), makes the history of any digital asset immutable and transparent through the use of decentralization and cryptographic hashing.

A simple analogy of how blockchain technology works can be compared to how a Google Docs document works. When you create a Google Doc and share it with a group of people, the document is simply distributed, not copied or moved. This creates a decentralized distribution chain that allows everyone to access the basic document at the same time. No one is forced to wait for changes from another party, while all document changes are recorded in real time, making changes completely transparent. However, an important loophole to note is that, unlike Google Docs, the original content and data on the blockchain cannot be changed once written, which increases the level of security.