Silk Road’s Bitcoins might be “protected” by the Fifth Amendment

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While the North-American authorities keep looking for a way to put their hands in the password-protected Bitcoin fortune hidden in the personal account of the Silk Road’s administrator, Ross Ulbricht, the case may lead to a Fifth Amendment battle to discuss the constitutional right against self-incrimination. This amendment might protect the responsible for the website, which was seized last week, from the compulsion of data.

Ulbricht’s fortune should be worth over 600,000 Bitcoins (or almost $74 million at the current exchange rate), but all the money is being kept in a password-protected digital wallet and the FBI will need the suspect’s Bitcoin private key information to get the cryptocurrency.

Now if Ulbricht is unwilling to give his private key information to the FBI and the authorities are unable to find the information through other means, the prosecution may try to compel the revelation through a court order. However, according to the site Liberty Voice, the Silk Road’s administrator could defend himself by using the Fifth Amendment, claiming that handing over the key information would be self-incriminating.

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.

The privilege against self-incrimination provided by this amendment should be deeply analyzed and can be applied to this case by Ulbricht’s defendant, so he’s “not compelled to produce evidence which could be used against him as an accused in a criminal action”.

If the government manages to secure the private key information and seize the assets, they will have to decide what to do with the virtual coins. Members of the United States Treasury Department met with the Bitcoin Foundation earlier this year to discuss the cryptocurrency, but the authorities are still trying to decide what to do with the 26,000 BTC seized so far.

article-2456758-18B433C600000578-92_634x406In the meantime, the Dutch Police arrested two more men allegedly connected to Silk Road. The suspects, captured in the city of Zetten, are being accused of selling ecstasy and being part of one of the most popular and controversial selling team operating in the illegal marketplace. Silk Road.

During the bust, the police found trays of MDMA powder, cutting tools and a tablet machine, among other production-related paraphernalia. The vendors went by the name XTC Express and were highly popular among Silk Road users.

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Maria Santos

Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

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