The United States Marshals Service has recently announced plans to sell more than 44,000 bitcoins, in total worth more than $17.2 million, seized during the raid of the Silk Road marketplace. The final auction was scheduled on November 5 and was successfully held yesterday.
The previous auction for 50,000 bitcoins was held in March 2015 following two more auctions in June and December 2014 for nearly 80,000 bitcoins.
Thus within the last year the federal law enforcement agency has already sold the biggest part of the confiscated digital currency. In total, Ross Ulbricht, the former operator of Silk Road, has lost over 144,000 bitcoins. The United States Marshals Service has also seized about 29,000 bitcoins from cryptocurrency wallets related to the online black market.
The Silk Road market was founded in January 2011. His founder, above-mentioned Ross Ulbricht, was arrested two years ago for using the platform for money laundering and drug trafficking.
Interesting that after Ulbricht’s arrest investigators discovered a forum account run by the Silk Road founder. Supposedly he paid other users hundreds of bitcoins for their help in discovering 40,000 lost bitcoins. Notably, he chose the name Kohlanta for the forum which is similar to Ko Lanta, an island in Thailand Ulbricht traveled to.
Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison in the end of May. The judge Katherine Forrest cited six deaths from drugs purchased on Silk Road and five people he attempted to have killed. Moreover with his permission thousands of drug dealers got opportunity to enlarge their markets by selling drugs to more than 100,000 buyers from all over the world.
Yesterday’s auction was open to everyone interested to participate. Applicants needed to fill in necessary documents during the registration period, which ran from October 19 to November 2. The auction was accessible only to the US citizens thus foreign investors were able to participate only via a syndicate or a third party.
According to the official information the online auction lasted 6 hours and drew 11 registered bidders and 30 bids. The auction included 21 blocks of 2,000 bitcoins and one block of over 2,341 bitcoins. Lynzey Donahue, a Marshals Service spokeswoman, says that no more details will be announced now. It’s more likely than we will get full information by Monday when the sold bitcoins are transferred to the winners.
The list of participators included Genesis Global Trading, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG). The company develops businesses that work with bitcoin and other digital currencies. It has just got funding from several financial giants such as Bain Capital Ventures and Mastercard.