$22 million worth of Bitcoin sold in Australian-first auction

If you had a couple of million to spare last week, you could have won yourself a very healthy haul of Bitcoin.

On Tuesday, financial services firm Ernst and Young announced it had successfully auctioned off 24,518 bitcoins. The bitcoins are worth around A$22 million ($16 million) by current value. One bitcoin is currently worth A$891.95 ($657.89) as at time of publication.

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The closed international auction, which ended on June 21, was open to bidders who supplied a deposit of $250,000 (A$338,698) and met other financial requirements. There were 11 lots of 2,000 bitcoins and one lot of 2,518 bitcoins. Each lot was worth well in excess of A$1 million, although bidders could have paid less.

Ernst and Young did not disclose the amount generated by the auction nor the identities of participants. According to Ernst and Young transactions partner Adam Nikitins, the auction attracted interest from “Bitcoin exchanges, digital asset investment funds and high net worth individuals.”

“We are pleased to report that the auctions were highly successful and all bidders have been notified of the auction outcomes,” he said in a statement.

“The process was very competitive and demonstrates the growing appetite for digital assets such as Bitcoin. The value of Bitcoin increased significantly over the past month, however bidding remained strong.”

Bitcoin

More than 24,000 Bitcoin were sold in a recent Australian auction.

Image: AP

The bitcoins auctioned in June were the proceeds of an undisclosed crime. As the BBC previously noted, however, Victorian police seized 24,518 bitcoins in 2013 after a man was arrested for dealing illegal drugs online. Richard Pollard plead guilty to commercial trafficking, Fairfax Media reported at the time, and police found three electronic wallets in his possession containing 24,518 bitcoins. 

It was expected the seized bitcoins would be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the state’s consolidated revenue. The Victorian police have been contacted for comment.

According to Ernst and Young, the auction was the first of its kind in Australia and the second ever globally. 

In November 2015, the U.S. Marshals auctioned off approximately 44,341 bitcoins, one of a series of lots, which were recovered from Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht. Ulbricht was given a life sentence on May 29, 2015 for his involvement with the dark web marketplace, which sold drugs and other illegal items.

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