Man who hid US$3.4 billion in stolen bitcoin inside popcorn tin and underground safe gets year in jail: Report

April 19, 2023

By Anjali Kochhar

A man named James Zhong, who was found to have stolen over 50,000 bitcoin from the Silk Road marketplace, has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison, as per a report by South China Morning Post.

He stored the stolen cryptocurrency, which was worth billions of dollars, in an underground safe and a Cheetos popcorn tin. Zhong was able to steal the Bitcoin by creating multiple accounts and tricking Silk Road into releasing the funds to him.

He never actually bought or sold anything on the website. Authorities discovered the stolen bitcoin, along with over US$660,000 in cash and silver and gold bars, during a search of Zhong’s home in Georgia.

Bitcoin was valued at US$3.4 billion when it was seized and is currently worth over US$1.5 billion.

A photo shared by the department shows that the cryptocurrency tin originally contained Cheetos-brand popcorn in both Flamin’ Hot and Cheddar flavours.

According to media reports, the tin and its promise of “2 favourites together” was available exclusively at Walmart during the 2020 holiday season.

The story of James Zhong’s elaborate Bitcoin theft and creative storage solutions, including the Cheetos popcorn tin, has generated significant media attention and highlights the potential risks and vulnerabilities of digital currency in the modern world.

About the author

Anjali Kochhar covers cryptocurrency stories in India as well as globally. Having been in the field of media and journalism for over three years now, she has developed a sharp news sense and works hard to present information that goes beyond the obvious. She is an avid reader and loves writing on a wide range of subjects.

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