The U.S. Marshals service is auctioning off over $1.6 million of forfeited bitcoins in a one-day event on August 22. The huge chunk of digital currency mostly comes from the treasure troves of black market retailers like Silk Road, a dark web drug selling site.
The auction, which runs online from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern, will sell off the 2,719.32669068 bitcoins as one block. At the current exchange rate for bitcoin, that’s approximately $1,601,656 worth of cryptocurrency that will be on the auction block for the highest bidder.
The seized cryptocurrency came from numerous court cases, but one in particular stands out. United States v. Ross William Ulbricht sent the founder of drug marketplace Silk Road to prison for life. Ulbricht was convicted of money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics for his involvement in Silk Road. The court decision also forced Ulbricht to forfeit “any and all property obtained directly or indirectly as a result of any such violation.”
U.S. v Ulbricht attracted widespread publicity, and the shutdown of Silk Road sparked a debate about the site’s impact and alerted other hackers and deep web retailers to the real consequences of their profession.