US authorities have seized more than $28million (£17m) in the digital currency bitcoins from the alleged mastermind behind the online black market Silk Road.

FBI detectives said 144,336 bitcoins were discovered on computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht on Friday, in the largest seizure of digital currency ever.

Silk Road, an online marketplace for drugs and criminal activity, was shut down by authorities around three weeks ago.

Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, is facing charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs, computer hacking and money laundering.


Silk Road, described as the ‘eBay of illegal drugs’, launched in February 2011 and had more than 900,000 registered users at its peak.

It provided an anonymous site where drug dealers, counterfeiters and other criminals could shop for everything from heroin to hit men, according to the Justice Department.

The seizures were carried out as part of a corresponding civil action against Silk Road and Ulbricht.

source: metro UK