The U.S. Marshals Service announced Thursday its plan to auction off the 29,657 bitcoins seized from the Silk Road servers last year by the FBI, which are currently worth $17.4 million.
The online auction will occur June 27 over a 12-hour period of time where, according to the USMS website, nine blocks containing 3,000 bitcoins each, and one block containing 2,657 bitcoins will be auctioned. The winning bidder will be notified by June 30.
Bitcoins seized from addresses belonging to Ross Ulbricht, totaling an additional 144,341.53 coins, are not part of this particular auction, but are being readied by the USMS for a separate sale, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.
Those interested in participating in the online auction can register on the USMS website from June 16 to June 23. In addition to filling out and signing a bidder registration form, interested parties must also provide a copy of a government-issued photo ID and a $200,000 USD deposit (sent from a bank within the U.S.)
The USMS also outlined the following restrictions: “the USMS will not transfer bitcoins to an obscene public address, a public address apparently in a country restricted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a public address apparently associated with terrorism, other criminal activities, or otherwise hostile to the United States.”
Many are speculating as to how exactly the sale of such a large amount of bitcoins will affect the price, and the price already fell 7 percent in an apparent reaction to the auction announcement.
As noted by Reddit user “d4d5c4e5” on a thread about the auction, the mere fact that the U.S. government decided to sell the seized bitcoins in the first place says something in regards to their perception of the digital currency. It “projects the message to the general public that the U.S. government believes not only is Bitcoin a ‘real’ thing, but has a value that they want to recoup by actually conducting a sale.”
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