The Department of Justice seized $2.3 million in Bitcoin
After regulatory worries in China crashed the market last month, cryptocurrencies fell again Tuesday morning after the Department of Justice of the United States declared the seizure of $2.3 million in bitcoin.
The seizure being part of the department’s investigation into a ransomware attack that shut down the Americas’ largest gas pipeline. The incident also gave rise to fears that US officials may step up their crypto oversight—something that has helped spark a year-long bear market.
The global crypto market had dropped more than 11% in the last 24 hours, dipping below $1.5 trillion. It has been the lowest drop since a flash crash in May which eventually brought down the market to $1.3 trillion as compare to a previous month of high above $2.5 trillion.
The meltdown began on Monday, following rumors that the Department of Justice had confiscated an undefined amount of bitcoin in connection with the May 8 hacking on Colonial Pipeline, and grew overnight, wiping out more than $150 billion in market value by 9:45 a.m. EDT Tuesday.
By checking bitcoin’s public ledger, discovering the transaction, and utilizing a secret key to access the tokens, the department claimed Tuesday it confiscated 63.7bitcoins worth $2.3 million from extortionists affiliated with the cyberhacking ring DarkSide.
Although it’s unclear how the DOJ obtained the private key, experts such as Dr. Nicholas Weaver, a cybersecurity professor at the University of California at Berkeley, have speculated that federal officials effectively hacked the hackers in a rare display of government intervention in the cryptocurrency space.
The news shook all major tokens, with bitcoin, ether, and Binance coin all dropping 10%, 12%, and 14%, respectively, on Tuesday morning.