Feds set to auction off $18 million worth of Silk Road bitcoins


(Photo by btckeychain)

The U.S. government has scheduled an auction of some of the bitcoins seized from the crackdown on online black market Silk Road last year -- but you'll need a $200,000 to bid on the cryptocurrency trove.

The auction will potentially resolve the fate of  the roughly 30,000 bitcoins seized on servers allegedly related to the operation of Silk Road, worth roughly a $18 million based on current Bitcoin exchange rates. The government seized an additional 144,336 bitcoins from hardware belonging to alleged Silk Road kingpin Ross William Ulbricht, but Ulbricht is contesting the forfeiture of that cryptocurrency.

The auction will be administered by the U.S. Marshals Service. Those interested in participating must register, providing a bidder registration form, a copy of their government-issued photo ID and $200,000 deposit sent by a wire transfer from a bank within the United States. Bidders must register by noon EDT on June 23. The auction will take place online on June 27 from 6 a.m. EDT to 6 p.m. EDT.

The bitcoins will be divided into 10 blocks -- nine "series A" blocks containing 3,000 bitcoins a piece and one block of around 2,600 bitcoins. Winning bidders will be notified about their success on June 30, then have until 5 p.m. EDT on July 1 to pay up or lose their deposit.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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