US Transfers $2 Billion in Silk Road Bitcoin, Bitcoin ETF Trading Volumes Tripled in March, Tether Increases Bitcoin Holdings

3 min read

US Transfers $2 Billion Worth of Silk Road-Seized Bitcoin

In a significant move related to the infamous Silk Road marketplace, roughly $2 billion in Bitcoin, previously seized by United States authorities, has been transferred to a new wallet address.

This development involves cryptocurrency that was connected to James Zhong, who in 2022 was convicted of wire fraud involving the Silk Road. The Department of Justice (DOJ) wallet, known to contain the seized Bitcoin from Zhong, initiated a transaction indicating movement of the assets. Initially, a minor transaction of 0.001 BTC was sent to a Coinbase Prime address, likely as a test. This was quickly followed by the transfer of 30,174 BTC, valued at approximately $2 billion at the time, to a new address.

Zhong’s involvement with Silk Road goes back to 2012 when he unlawfully obtained over 50,000 BTC from the marketplace. U.S. authorities, after raiding Zhong’s property in 2021, discovered hardware wallets containing the Bitcoin, including one notably concealed within a popcorn tin under blankets. The majority of the seized cryptocurrency, which had been in storage, was then moved to the address that executed the over 30,000 BTC transaction on April 2.

This action comes after the U.S. government reported in March 2023 that it had sold about 9,861 BTC of the seized crypto from Zhong for over $215 million, reducing the remaining seized Bitcoin to approximately 40,000 BTC. The transaction occurred amid a significant price drop in Bitcoin, which fell more than 7% to $65,475.

The Silk Road marketplace, shut down over a decade ago, was a dark web platform for trading illicit goods, such as drugs, weapons, and stolen credit card information. Its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested in 2013 and is currently serving two life sentences without parole, marking a high-profile case in the battle against online criminal activities.

Source: Cointelegraph

Bitcoin ETF Trading Volumes Tripled in March

In March, the trading volumes of U.S.-listed Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) surged to over $110 billion, tripling the figures from January and February, as Bitcoin reached new record highs. This significant increase was predominantly led by BlackRock’s IBIT ETF, which accounted for nearly half of the total trading volume.

Grayscale’s GBTC and Fidelity’s FBTC followed, with 20% and 17% of the total share, respectively. According to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas, this surge positioned IBIT as the leading ETF in the Bitcoin market, likening it to the gold standard among Bitcoin ETFs.

This spike in trading volumes came after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved these ETFs for trading in January, coinciding with a period of substantial growth in Bitcoin’s value, which escalated to an unprecedented $73,000. The market’s focus has shifted towards the performance of spot ETFs, marking a significant transformation from fundamental market dynamics.

Source: Coindesk

Tether Increases Bitcoin Holdings

Tether, a prominent player in the cryptocurrency space, has significantly increased its Bitcoin holdings by purchasing an additional 8,889 bitcoins, valued at approximately $627 million.

This strategic acquisition has boosted its total Bitcoin reserves to 75,354 BTC, making its portfolio worth around $5.26 billion, as reported by Arkham Intelligence. Initiated in September 2022, Tether’s move to integrate Bitcoin into its portfolio represents a diversification strategy beyond traditional assets such as cash and Treasury bonds.

With up to 15% of its profits from Tether stablecoin reserves now being invested in Bitcoin, CEO Paolo Ardoino highlights Bitcoin’s scarcity and widespread acceptance as primary reasons for this allocation.

This shift towards Bitcoin investment has paid off handsomely for Tether, contributing to a record-breaking net profit of $2.85 billion in the last quarter of 2023. The profit surge is attributed to operational gains from U.S. Treasury interests and the appreciating value of its gold and Bitcoin reserves.

With this growth, Tether has emerged as the sixth-largest Bitcoin holder, trailing behind major entities like Fidelity’s FBTC and MicroStrategy. The top position in Bitcoin holdings is currently held by nine new spot ETFs, which collectively possess a total of 501.000 BTC.

Source: Coinpaprika

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