50,000 Bitcoins are going to be auctioned in the coming weeks. Despite the fact that Ross Ulbricht is not scheduled to stand trial until after the holiday season, the US Marshal’s Service is going ahead with a second round of their Silk Road Bitcoin Auction. These Bitcoins that are currently being sold through the beginning of December likely belong to Ross Ulbricht himself, not Silk Road or Silk Road users
In January, Ross Ulbricht and his lawyers signed a court order that allowed the USMS to sell Bitcoins belonging to Silk Road and all property traceable from said crime, “including but not limited to the bitcoins located on Ulbricht’s computer hardware.” This move was likely undertaken as a result of the downturn in price that winter to preserve the USD value of the seized bitcoins.
The last USMS Silk Road Bitcoin Auction was in July of 2014, 26,000 bitcoins were auctioned in the first government sale of Bitcoin, a legitimizing move for the fledgling currency. All of the BTC was bought by venture capitalist Tim Draper, who has since made additional moves in the Bitcoin space. Just in the last few weeks, Tim Draper’s VC Firm led the Series C funding round for Coinbase, and Draper-backed Bitcoin exchange service Vaurum rebranded as Mirror.
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USMS Auction Details
The USMS notice explained the auction:
“This sealed bid auction is for a portion of 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.”
Bitcoins will be sold in one of two series, in blocks of 2,000 or blocks of 3,000. There will be 10 of each type of block available. In order to be eligible to bid on 2,000 BTC blocks, potential auction participants need to deposit $100,000 with the USMS and submit their bid by December 1st. For 3,000 BTC block bidders, the requirement is raised to $150,000. The winner(s) will be contacted on December 5th, and payment will occur on December 8th.
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