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Bitcoin Foundation Comments on the Shutdown of Silk Road

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By Jinyoung Lee Englund
Bitcoin Foundation
Friday, October 4, 2013

We received several requests to comment on the shutdown of Silk Road.
First and foremost, it is important to note that the sanctity of the
Bitcoin protocol remains intact and it was not a weakness of the core
protocol that led to the apprehension of Mr. Ulbricht. Although Bitcoin
is not anonymous by default, Bitcoin addresses were not a factor in
solving the case.

“The FBI was able to capture an alleged criminal without any new
investigative methodologies being needed and without having to get into
changing the nature of the Bitcoin protocol,” Bitcoin Foundation General
Counsel Patrick Murck said. “They caught him the same way they would
catch somebody using cash.”

This is good for the Bitcoin economy in general and the reputation in
specific because it proves that Bitcoins are in and of themselves a
neutral store of value or medium of exchange and that privacy does not
necessarily have to be compromised for law enforcement purposes.

Bitcoin’s principal attributes of irreversibility and user-defined
privacy continue to provide benefits for bitcoin users globally. The
Bitcoin Foundation would like to reaffirm that financial privacy sits on
a sliding scale expressed differently by different individuals.
However, within the Bitcoin transaction network, the specific level of
that privacy is determined, managed, and set by the user.

Furthermore, the FBI acknowledged that “Bitcoins are not illegal in and
of themselves and have known legitimate uses.” (DOJ Filing Section 21,
Subsection v)
For more information on Bitcoin and anonymity, please see:
For Tor and the Silk Road takedown, please see:



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