TECH
07/10/2013 07:58 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Bitcoin Users Prank FBI With 'Protest Transactions' After 'Silk Road' Arrest

The seizure of the illicit 'dark web' trading website The Silk Road and the arrest of its alleged operator last week was a big win for the FBI - even if many copycat sites have since popped up to take the downed site's business.

Alongside the arrest of suspected admin Ross Ulbricht, the agency seized $3.6 million worth of Bitcoin, the supposedly anonymous digital currency used by traders to purchase often illegal goods across the web.

Since the arrest, however, the price of Bitcoin has fallen sharply. And now it looks like there's been another side-effect - the commencement of a mass protest by former Silk Road users, who say the 26,000 seized Bitcoins are theirs and not the FBIs.

The protest has been enabled by the fact that the FBI's Bitcoin address is now public knowledge.

When you send someone Bitcoins - or fractions of them - you can also send a message. As a result, thousands of furious Silk Road users are sending tiny amounts of money to the FBI, along with expressions of their rage and anger.

One of the messages notes: "Marijuana: a drug that kills ... no one - and let's put it in a time frame - ever. Illegal."

Another says: "You cannot arrest an idea."

Gizmodo has a long list of some of the messages sent.