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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The value of a single bitcoin cracked $15,000 Thursday afternoon, following a Justice Department seizure of about $1 billion worth of the cryptocurrency from the dormant dark web site Silk Road.

Why it matters, via Axios' Dan Primack: This is the largest-ever U.S. government seizure of Bitcoin to date. The confiscation caused prices to jump because so much was taken out of circulation — but, the government could likely auction it all off later.

What they're saying: “Silk Road was the most notorious online criminal marketplace of its day,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in a press release, per Vice News.

  • “The successful prosecution of Silk Road’s founder in 2015 left open a billion-dollar question. Where did the money go? Today’s forfeiture complaint answers this open question at least in part. $1 billion of these criminal proceeds are now in the United States’ possession.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the value of a single bitcoin has reached $15,000, not $15,000 per $1.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Dec 22, 2020 - Economy & Business

SEC lawsuit against crypto firm Ripple could put chill on industry investment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ripple, one of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency companies, on Monday disclosed that the SEC plans to sue the company, its CEO and its executive chairman for allegedly selling unlicensed securities. [Update: The lawsuit was filed Tuesday afternoon]

Why it matters: This could put a chill on some crypto industry investment, as Ripple has no interest in settling fast and moving on. It also could mildly complicate the upcoming IPO for Coinbase, where XRP-to-dollar activity made up 15% of trading volume over the past 30 days (per Nomics).

4 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.