The U.S. government is selling 2,700 bitcoin, valued at nearly $1.6 million based on current exchange rates, later this month.
The U.S. Marshals Service, the enforcement arm of federal courts, is holding an auction for the seized bitcoins on August 22; bidders must register by August 17 in order to participate. The electronic currency was seized during a bunch of different cases, but a lot of it comes from investigations of the Silk Road.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency, backed by a peer-to-peer network and advanced mathematics. Its decentralized nature makes it appealing to privacy advocates and others, but also to criminals.
Most infamously, bitcoin was the currency of choice for the Silk Road, which for a long time served as an eBay equivalent for drug dealers. The agency says 2.8 bitcoins in this latest auction were seized from Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road. Most of the coins for sale come from a few prominent cases.
- 1,294 bitcoins were seized from Matthew Gillum, a Silk Road drug dealer sentenced to nine years in prison in 2015.
- 65 come from Carl Force, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent sentenced for stealing bitcoins during