Going once, going twice: A big bitcoin auction is set to take place in Australia

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Steve Garfield/Flickr
Looking to get your hands on some bitcoins? Consider a trip down under. Next month, around $11.49 million worth of confiscated bitcoins will be auctioned off in Sydney, marking the first time such an auction has ever taken place outside the United States. The big event comes at a time when demand for the cryptocurrency is higher than ever (or at least, higher than it has been in the last couple years).

On Monday, Ernst and Young announced that the auction would be held on June 20 and 21, and will include 24,518 coins. While the financial services company did not reveal who would be benefiting from the auction, they did note that the bitcoins for sale were “confiscated as proceeds of crime.” This comes as little surprise given the digital currency’s popularity in the “dark web” and in illegal activity, given the anonymity provided by the tender.

But that doesn’t mean that the people bidding next month are ne’er-do-wells themselves — rather, as EY partner Adam Nikitins told Reuters, asset investment managers, currency exchanges, investment banks, and hedge funds in North America and Europe are likely to be making offers.

“Interest in this technology continues to grow,” Nikitins said. “The number of bitcoin transactions since 2012 has quadrupled and parties are seeing more opportunities and uses for the technology.”

Currently, the value of the currency stands at $534.47, which is the highest it’s been since August of 2014, as per CoinDesk. The estimated market value of all the currency in circulation sits at $8.29 billion.

“The trading history of bitcoin has been volatile,” Nikitins added. “But we are now seeing a more steady increase in prices and we are confident of having a hotly contested auction.”

So if you’ve any need for bitcoins, you’ll be able to submit a bid on 11 lots containing 2,000 bitcoins each, and one lot containing 2,518 bitcoins. Best of luck.

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