Self-styled Ross Ulbricht successor to give up Silk Road 2.0 Bitcoin

UK authorities labelled Thomas White a 'well-regarded member of the original Silk Road hierarchy,' and ordered him to hand over his Bitcoin.

The lead brain behind Silk Road 2.0 — intended to replace Ross Ulbricht’s platform — has been ordered to forfeit Bitcoin he earned running the revival darknet marketplace.

Liverpudlian Thomas White is already serving a five-year sentence for taking over the notorious illicit online drug store’s brand after the FBI shut down Ulbricht’s original operation in 2013.

Following his sentencing in 2019, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) continued investigations into the Bitcoin generated from White’s Silk Road 2.0.

At a confiscation hearing last Monday, Judge Henry Teague QC ordered the self-taught computer expert to hand over £493,550 ($674,000) from his Bitcoin stash — about 10.7 BTC at current prices.

White was also forced to give up all electronic devices used in relation to Silk Road 2.0

Silk Road 2.0 didn’t last long

White first joined Silk Road as a teenager in 2013. He purchased prescription sleeping pills under the username StExo.

He would later take on the moniker “Dread Pirate Roberts 2” — a reference to Ulbricht’s online identity — and become the mastermind of what he pitched as the new Silk Road.

  • White first graduated to a vendor account after entering a distribution agreement with India-based MedsforBitcoin.
  • After the arrest of Ulbricht, White worked with another user to revive the marketplace.
  • In early 2014, White began winding down his involvement in Silk Road 2.0.

However, shortly after White informed Silk Road 2.0’s users of his ‘retirement,’ UK authorities busted his lush waterfront apartment in Liverpool.

Police discovered nearly $50,000 in computer equipment and close to 500 child exploitation images. The NCA confiscated 50 BTC ($260,000 then, $3.1 million now) and sealed his case until sentencing four years later.

The original Bitcoin marketplace

Ulbricht, the original Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested in a San Francisco public library. An FBI cybercrime team tracked down the then-29-year-old, arresting him whilst logged into the darknet marketplace.

He was found guilty of all seven charges including drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit computer hacking.

In 2015, Ulbricht was sentenced to two life terms (plus 40 years) in a Manhattan court.

As for White, he was handed a five-year-and-four-month jail term at Liverpool Crown Court in April 2019. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering, and making 464 “category A” indecent images of children.

[Read more: Silk Road leads Aussie cops to $6M Bitcoin seizure — thanks to the FBI]

Tyrone Surgeon, Branch Commander at the NCA (our emphasis) said:

“Thomas White was a well-regarded member of the original Silk Road hierarchy. He used this to his advantage when the original site was closed down and profited significantly from his criminal activity.”

“This case proves that crime doesn’t pay — not only has he spent the last two years in prison, he now has to hand over nearly £500,000 [$683,000],” added Surgeon.

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