Silk Road

News & Analysis as of

European Commission tackles financing risks linked to virtual currencies

The European Commission has adopted a proposal to strengthen anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorism financing (CFT) measures related to virtual currencies. The proposal, adopted in July 2016, seeks to bring...more

Mixed Messages: Courts Grapple With Emoticons and Emoji

Emoticons—such as :-)—and emoji are ubiquitous in online and mobile communications; according to one study, 74 percent of Americans use emoticons, emoji and similar images on a regular basis. Given their popularity, it...more

Digital Emotions: The Evidentiary Impact of Emoticons and Emojis

When computer science professor Scott Fahlman posted a sideways smiley face on an electronic message board at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982, he could not possibly have known that combination of dots and dashes would give...more

Re-thinking What We Think We Know About Bitcoin (Part I)

It’s no surprise that, as the way we exchange information continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace, the way we exchange value is rapidly evolving too. This two-part series explores the Bitcoin evolution occurring in...more

Lines Crossed: From Enforcing to Breaking the Law

Silk Road was a notorious black market for narcotics that used seemingly untraceable digital currencies (i.e., Bitcoins) to facilitate illegal activities on the “dark web.” Last week, former Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”)...more

DOJ Criminal Chief Warns Financial Institutions about Bitcoin

On June 26, 2015 at the ABA National Institute on Bitcoin and Other Digital Currencies, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell sent a targeted warning to financial institutions that deal with Bitcoin and other virtual...more

Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht Receives Life Sentence

On May 29, 2015, after a lengthy criminal investigation and multi-week trial, Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind Silk Road—one of the most famous enterprises to utilize Bitcoin currency—was sentenced to life in prison in a...more

Not So Silky Road

The founder of Silk Road, the black market website where illegal goods were bought with bitcoin, was found guilty on all 7 counts, including money laundering, drug trafficking and computer hacking. While this is an...more

Bit Bites: Latest Legal Developments in Digital Currencies

When Is Bitcoin “Money” Versus a “Security”? In motions involving a high-profile criminal prosecution with ties to Silk Road and a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action, two federal courts have clarified...more

Judge Rakoff Rules that Bitcoin Is Money in New York Federal Court

On August 19, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a ruling in the case of Robert Faiella, holding that bitcoins are “money,” citing the plain meaning of the term in The...more

Bitcoins and SAR Narratives

You probably know about Bitcoin, unless you have been living in total seclusion for the last few years. The big controversy usually centers on determining if it is legal tender. But imagine if you are confronted with a...more

Silk Road’s Ulbrecht Fails in Dismissal Bid, Court Strengthens Federal Bitcoin Enforcement

In another installment of the continuing saga surrounding the shuttering of the Silk Road online marketplace and arrest of its alleged creator and operator, Ross William Ulbricht (Ulbricht), a Southern District of New York...more

U.S. Government Begins First Ever Bitcoin Auction

As reported in our earlier post, the U.S. Government has begun its first ever auction of Bitcoins. The Bitcoins to be auctioned were seized in connection with the shutdown of the Silk Road - the "dark net" site that served as...more

US Marshals Service Announces Auction of Silk Road Bitcoins

The US Marshals Service (USMS) announced that it will hold an online auction on June 27 to sell bitcoins contained in wallet files seized from the servers of Silk Road, the “deep web” black market shut down by the Federal...more

A Conversation with Ben Simpfendorfer on Asia Restructurings [Video]

Latham & Watkins co-hosted a senior level industry summit with ASIFMA in Hong Kong entitled "Maximizing Outcomes in Upcoming Restructurings." Ben Simpendorfer, Managing Director of Silk Road Assoicates, shares insights from...more

Bitcoin – real, virtual or illegal currency?

The news about the indictment of Charlie Shrem, the former vice president of Bitcoin Foundation, and Robert Faiella in the US because of their potential involvement in the laundering of more than $ 1 million bitcoin on the...more

Will Legal Reform Kill the Bitcoin?

For two decades, during the 1620s and 1630s, Europe fell into the grip of “tulip mania.” At its peak in 1637, tulip bulbs were sold for more than 10 times the average worker’s annual income—enough to buy a house. Within...more

Bitcoins and Liability in the Wake of Recent Silk Road Arrests

Last week’s arrests of Robert Faiella, an alleged seller on online marketplace Silk Road, and Charlie Shrem, the CEO of the startup BitInstant, marked a recent round in a series of law enforcement actions against what the...more

28 Million Dollars in Bitcoins Deemed Forfeited to the U.S. Government

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced the forfeiture of approximately 29,655 Bitcoins in connection with the seizure of the Silk Road website....more

More fallout from Silk Road

Another set of Bitcoin-related arrests for failing to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act. Interestingly, investors in one of the companies include the Winkelvoss twins. Anyone who is involved in Bitcoin or other virtual...more

Virtual Currency Year-In-Review: Bitcoin and Beyond

Bitcoin and other decentralized, math-based virtual currencies emerged in 2013 as nascent challenges to traditional payment systems, drawing widespread public attention, venture capital investment, and regulatory scrutiny....more

Bitcoin - Virtual Currency of the Future? - Part Two

“Virtual currencies”, and bitcoin in particular, have recently received much attention from law enforcement agencies, the business community, the financial sector and government authorities, all of which are trying to...more

Bitcoin And The Silk Road

The advent of the Internet is not all positive – criminals like to use the Internet and they are very good at doing so. The same might be said for Bitcoin, the new raging virtual currency....more

Government Brings Important Case Against Illegal Marketplace “Silk Road;” Government Acknowledges Lawful Uses Of Bitcoin

The virtual currency industry is in the news once again following the October 1, 2013, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s shutdown of the “Silk Road” website. As part of the shutdown of the well-known underworld bazaar, the...more

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