The U.S. Marshals Service auctioned $17.7 million worth of bitcoins on Friday that had been seized during last September’s raid of the Silk Road, a popular online marketplace where users buy illegal drugs and illicit services.
The 29,655 bitcoins were divided into 10 blocks of about 3,000 each. According to Bloomberg, bidders had to put down a $200,000 deposit to get in on the bidding. The Marshals Service did not say how many bids were made. Winners will be notified on Monday.
Bloomberg’s Matt Miller says a number of investment funds are in, including Pantera, a bitcoin-only investment firm, Rangeley Capital, and DRW Trading Group. A list of potential bidders leaked in January, read it here.
One bidder, Harry Yeh of Binary Financial, told Coindesk he thinks the bitcoins could go for as much as 20 percent below the market value.
The Silk Road was one of the most popular bitcoin marketplaces on the Internet. It could be accessed via anonymous web proxy services like Tor. Illegal drugs were regularly sold and the federal government says it allowed users to launder money anonymously. Ross Ulbricht, 30, Silk Road's alleged owner, is scheduled to face trial on Nov. 3. He pleaded not guilty to four charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking and hacking charges.
According to Reuters, the Marshals Service has an additional 144,342 bitcoins seized from Ulbricht’s personal hardware.