Silk Road Trial: U.S. Marshals to Auction 50,000 ‘Additional’ Bitcoins in March

Today, on Wednesday, the U.S. government said that it plans to auction a collection of Bitcoins seized from Silk Road genius Ross Ulbricht on March 5, 2015.

Photo: Nate_892/Flickr

Photo: Nate_892/Flickr

The U.S. Marshals Service has announced that it will bring under the hammer another 50,000 Bitcoins that were seized from Ross Ulbricht’s computer in October 2013. That is worth approximately $12 million at current exchange rate.

The registration is set from now till March 2, 2015. The closed auction will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST on March 5, 2015. The Bitcoins are being brought under the hammer in 20 separate blocks: 10 blocks of 2,000 Bitcoins and 10 blocks of 3,000 Bitcoins. According to the statement, one neither will have the opportunity to view other bids, nor he/she will  have the opportunity to change the bid once submitted.

The U.S. government and Silk Road genius agreed to the auction of these Bitcoins on January 27, 2015, during Ulbricht’s trial in New York City. One week later, Ulbricht was found guilty of money laundering and seven drug trafficking charges, particularly exporting 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, after only 3.5 hours of jury deliberation.

“ON JANUARY 27, 2014, THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ENTERED A STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR INTERLOCUTORY SALE OF BITCOINS WHEREIN THE UNITED STATES AND ROSS WILLIAM ULBRICHT AGREED THAT THE UNITED STATES MAY SELL ANY PORTION OR ALL OF THE COMPUTER HARDWARE BITCOINS ON A DATE OR DATES IN A MANNER TO BE DETERMINED BY THE GOVERNMENT, ” reads the statement at U.S. Marshals  website.

According to Lynzey Donahue, the USMS spokesperson, the money earned in this trade will go to the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture fund.

This is the USMS’s third Bitcoin auction since seizing $28.5 million worth of Bitcoin from Ulbricht’s computer and the Silk Road servers in October 2013. There was a slump in participation between the first and second Bitcoin auction: while the first auction attracted 45 bidders making 63 bids, the second only drew 11 bidders who made 27 bids. In the first auction in June 2014, the USMS brought under the hammer 30,000 Bitcoins seized from the Silk Road servers. Venture capitalist Tim Draper won all the Bitcoins, worth around $19 million at that time.

In December 2014, the USMS brought under the hammer 50,000 of the 144,00 Bitcoins seized from Ulbricht’s computer. Bitcoin Investment Trust won the majority of that trade, taking home 48,000 Bitcoins, while Tim Draper won the remaining 2,000 Bitcoins.

About Ulbricht

Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old scientist and self-taught programmer born in Texas, has fashioned himself as a philosopher and libertarian.

In April in 2007 in a YouTube video,  in response to then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s question about America’s greatest challenge, Ulbricht replied, “Getting us out of the United Nations.” In year 2010 Ulbricht was urging Facebook readers to “build a world where we, and the generations that follow us, will be freer than any that have come before!” via Facebook note. In this very year Ulbricht opened Goodwagon Books, a legitimate book business, and builds a DIY “shroomery” to grow hallucinogenic fungi in a remote cabin in Bastrop, Texas.

In 2010 Ulbricht wrote in his journal that he has told too many people about Silk Road:

“It felt wrong to lie completely so I tried to tell the truth without revealing the bad part, but now I am in a jam. Everyone knows too much. Dammit.”

 

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