FBI Crackdown on Illegal Bitcoin Activity: A blessing or a curse?

FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bitcoins, Payment, SilkRoad, Illegal, Ross Ulbricht, Blockchain.info, payments, future

While Bitcoin as a payment method is growing daily, it still has connotations with some of the shadier practices on the Internet – primarily the buying and selling of illegal drugs.

After having arrested Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of Silk Road – a website that largely dealt with exchanging illegal goods with Bitcoins – the FBI has attempted to access 600,000 Bitcoins (around $80m/£49.7m) accumulated by Ulbricht.

They've already seized $3.2m worth of Bitcoins that were being held on Silk Road for customers.

Naturally, this led to a large outcry from Bitcoin holders and members of Blockchain.info., which allows users to manage their Bitcoin accounts.

While the practices of Silk Road were extremely dubious, many commenters aren't defending the site. Instead they're asking about why the FBI believe they can take someone else's money without question.

The biggest reason for this seems to be the fact that the US federal reserve just don't acknowledge it as a ‘real' currency.

Which brings into question just how likely it is that Bitcoin could really take off?

It's a question that we talk about nearly every week, there's always a chatter that says it'll be fine, while another says it won't. It's hard to know what's what and who to believe – and even we're not sure what could happen.

But with big moments like this and Bitcoin ATMs, it could well be that as Silk Road closes down and Bitcoin cleans its image up, then maybe – just maybe – it'll become an accepted payment method.

 

[Image: I am grape - Flickr]

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