If any further evidence was required that up is down and black is white, the United States government is now in the business of selling Bitcoins. At least for one day.
The U.S. Marshals Service is planning to hold a one-day auction on June 27 to sell nearly 30,000 Bitcoins the government seized in the takedown of Silk Road, the online drug and hacking marketplace, last October. The Bitcoins were housed in wallet files stored on servers seized during the raid, and they’re being sold mainly in blocks of 3,000, with one block of 2,656 for sale, as well. As of Friday morning, Bitcoins were valued right around $600, making each block of 3,000 worth about $1.8 million.
However, the Marshals Service is not selling them outright, but is instead holding an auction for each block. The blocks will be sold separately and buyers will be required to register in advance, beginning on June 16 and ending on June 23. If you’re interested, don’t bother looking for financing terms, because all offers must be in cash and bidders have to submit a $200,000 deposit, as well. The auction will last from 6 am to 6 pm EDT on June 27.
“No bitcoin transfer will be made until the USMS has confirmed receipt of all purchase funds from the buyer. 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,” the USMS notice of the asset sale says.
The Silk Road takedown in October was the result of an FBI investigation into the site’s operation. The site, which was housed on a hidden server on the Tor network and users could buy a wide variety of goods and services, including drugs, fake passports and counterfeit money and access to hacked accounts on Amazon or Netflix. Some users also sold hacking tools such as RATs and other kinds of malware.
The FBI also arrested Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged operator of the site, and charged him with a handful of computer crimes, as well as distribution of narcotics. Authorities allege that Ulbricht was the man who used the moniker Dread Pirate Roberts and ran Silk Road since 2011. Bitcoin was the currency of record on Silk Road and the 29,656 of them that the USMS is auctioning off represent a large fraction of the Bitcoins in circulation.
What the government is not selling, however, are the Bitcoins seized from Ulbricht after his arrest.
“This auction is for the Bitcoins contained in the wallet files that resided on Silk Road servers, including he servers assigned the following Internet Protocol addresses:126.96.36.199; 188.8.131.52; 184.108.40.206; 220.127.116.11; 18.104.22.168; AND 22.214.171.124 (“SILKROAD SEIZED COINS”),” the sale notice says.
“This auction does not include the Bitcoins contained in wallet files that resided on certain computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht, that were seized on or about October 24, 2013.”
The winning bidders will be notified on June 30 and will have until the next day to initiate the wire transfer.