The United States Marshal Service will auction off $18 million worth of Bitcoins that were seized from the closure of the Silk Road marketplace. The site, which was said to have facilitated the sale of drugs and other illegal goods in the so-called “dark net,” was shut down by the FBI last October.
Transactions on the online marketplace were based on the digital currency. During the seizure, the feds were said to have taken a total of 174,000 Bitcoins. Of the entire haul, which is now worth around $100 million, 29,656.5 Bitcoins are being sold by the government.
Joining the bidding requires an investment, though. The seized assets will be sold off in nine blocks of 3,000 Bitcoins and one block of 2,656.5 Bitcoins and can only be bought after sending the USMS a $200,000 deposit. Even then, participation in the auction is not guaranteed. Bidders must undergo an evaluation process. If the USMS deems you unfit for the auction, your money will be sent back and you will not be able to bid.
Most of the Bitcoins from the FBI’s Silk Road bust were taken from the computers of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind of the illegal marketplace. However, these were not included in the auction because the seizure was challenged in court last December.
The Ulbricht haul has been labeled “DPR Seized Coins.” DPR stands for “Dead Pirate Roberts,” the pseudonym linked with the Silk Road’s operator. Ulbricht was charged for drug trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking offenses. He has challenged the seizure of his Bitcoins under civil forfeiture rules.