There is a sale planned for March 19, 2018, in which the United States Marshals are aiming to auction almost $25 million in bitcoin (BTC). The sell-off would be a significant portion of their crypto stockpile accumulated in recent times.
Expensive Seat at the Table: Auction Specifics
They announced their plans for this auction on March 6, 2018, and detailed how there would be about 2,170 bitcoins auctioned off in this sale.
Any party that wishes to sign up as a bidder will have to make a deposit of $200,000, as well as meeting all of the registration specifications before the auction in order to participate as outlined by the Marshals Service.
The event is set to be broken into 14 different sessions, with there being two 500 BTC auctions, eleven 100 BTC auctions and a single auction of 70 BTC up for sale.
The release states that the Marshal Service has confiscated the bitcoins being sold as a result of “various federal criminal, civil and administrative cases.” This bounty encompasses everything from Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) confiscations to federal trials.
Bitcoin has been used extensively by criminals in recent years as a way of laundering and transacting funds in a relatively anonymous way. Comparatively, it is becoming far and away the preferred alternative to fiat.
This shift in transaction medium is why the US Marshals’ bitcoin stash is so significant, as many of the criminals prosecuted by these government agencies have substantial stockpiles of bitcoins used in criminal activities.
The origins of most of the bitcoins being auctioned have been published online.
Additionally, a portion of these coins has been traced to a case that involved an ex-Secret Service Agent named Shaun Bridges who received a prison sentence following accusations that he stole funds that were part of the Silk Road investigation.
He received a conviction in 2015 for the stealing of $800,000 worth of bitcoins.
The Silk Road was effectively an eBay for criminal activities, such as the buying and selling of narcotics and weapons. It was shut down by the FBI in October 2013, and they seized approximately 144,000 bitcoins.
In January 2018, there was another auction held by the US Marshals in which over 3,600 bitcoins were sold to a total of five bidders.
The total sum raised was more than $30 million. Another sale of this kind was held in the middle of 2016 when 2,700 bitcoins were auctioned off.
The price of bitcoin has, of course, exploded since the beginning of 2017, with the total sum raised through the 2016 auction only being about $1.6 million. It is not clear if the holdings of bitcoin cash or bitcoin gold are included with these sums of seized bitcoin.
There have also been numerous similar auctions held by government authorities across the world in recent times, involving countries such as Australia, South Korea, and Ukraine.