The Jimmy Zhong story: How a $3B bitcoin heist collapsed after one fatal mistake

Jimmy Zhong, a 22-year-old hacker, never intended to become a criminal billionaire. But that’s exactly what happened in 2012, when he discovered a way to steal bitcoin from Silk Road, a dark web exchange popular at the time with criminals who used the site to conduct their nefarious activities, from drugs and narcotics, to guns and porn. Over the next decade, the value of the coins Zhong stole skyrocketed, eventually reaching an eye-watering $3.36 billion.

He eluded the FBI and IRS for nearly a decade, but in 2019, he made an error that led them right to his door. Zhong’s case is the Department of Justice’s second-largest seizure in history.

Watch the video to see Zhong’s journey from supposed victim to jailed crypto criminal.

Also watch: Is OpenAI’s rush for revenue a threat to humankind?


Yulan Deng

Yulan Deng is a video producer with a background in University of Arts London. She is passionate about discussing fintech. You can reach out to her at

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