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) Here is the U.S. Department of Justice filing link: [http://www.scribd.com/doc/172766650/Criminal-Complaint-Against-Alleged-Silk-Road-Proprietor-Ross-William-Ulbricht](http://www.scribd.com/doc/172766650/Criminal-Complaint-Against-Alleged-Silk-Road-Proprietor-Ross-William-Ulbricht) Silk Road seized assets on the bitcoin block chain: [https://blockchain.info/address/1F1tAaz5x1HUXrCNLbtMDqcw6o5GNn4xqX](https://blockchain.info/address/1F1tAaz5x1HUXrCNLbtMDqcw6o5GNn4xqX)
For more information on Bitcoin and anonymity, please see: [https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Anonymity](https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Anonymity)