In the market for some controversial online currency? The U.S. government may be able to help you grab some – the tune of some $18 million-worth of Bitcoin, going up for auction later this month.
The virtual money, found “in wallet files,” was seized when federal agents shut down the seedy, underground online marketplace Silk Road last fall.
Nearly 30,000 Bitcoins are available to be bid on, which works out to more than $17 million real dollars, and the bidding is open to anyone with a government-issued ID – and $200,000 to put up as a refundable deposit. There is a pre-registration period, but the actual auction will run for 12 hours on June 27, the Marshals said.
What will not be up for auction is the approximate 144,342 Bitcoins – more than $80 million – “that are part of the civil forfeiture and criminal action against Ross Ulbricht [the man accused of running Silk Road] and the assets of Silk Road.” Those Bitcoins, the U.S. Marshals say, are staying in their virtual wallet for now.
In September 2013, the FBI arrested Ulbricht for allegedly running Silk Road, an underground website known as a hidden online haven for drug trafficking, and shuttered the website. But a consumer watchdog group found in April that not only is another version of the site up and running, but it’s more vibrant than ever.