You've heard of policemen's auctions, in which local law enforcement auction off the personal possessions of criminals who have been stripped of their fortunes. Faberge eggs of unknown provenance, for example, seized from a disgraced drug lord. The U.S. Marshals Service is doing more or less the same thing with Bitcoin: On Friday, June 13, its web site had the improbable announcement:


29,656.51306529 bitcoins

At the exchange rate at the time of this posting, that is the equivalent of US$17,395,620.87. By that measure, fronting the U.S. Marshals $200,000 seems more than reasonable.

Where did this BTC come from? It was seized in from the e-commerce site Silk Road, an illegal decentralized market where every drug known to man could be purchased, and purchased with BTC. The FBI shut down Silk Road in October 2013, and arrested its alleged founder, Ross William Ulbricht, charging him with charges ranging from computer hacking to narcotics trafficking.

The BTC up for grabs, according to the U.S. Marshals official site, was that residing in bitcoin wallet files contained on Silk Road servers. In other words, the money belonged to the customers who had been buying and selling drugs on Silk Road. As for the main culprit, the site specifies that Ross' assets are not included in the lot [all caps in original]:


In a way, this news should be reassuring to the Bitcoin community: it's yet another bit of proof that the U.S. government really does take Bitcoin seriously as a currency. If it were all vapor or a figment of everyone's imagination, there would have been nothing to seize and sell.

For those wishing to partake, bidder registration deadlines are June 16 and June 23, 2014, and the auction itself takes place on June 27, 2014, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Related Articles
  1. Investing Basics

    The Easy Way To Measure Bitcoin's Fair Market Value: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

    How do you determine the fair market value of a currency that has appreciated faster than the shares of even the hottest technology stocks?
  2. Investing News

    Will Bitcoin And Walmart Force Western Union To Change Its Business Model?

    Western Union is recognized across the globe for providing a fast, efficient way to move money. Just walk into a Western Union office and you can transfer money to friends, relatives or business ...
  3. Investing Basics

    Why Is Bitcoin's Value So Volatile?

    Bitcoin's value fluctuates due to a confluence of factors, including media hype and perceived value.
  4. Investing Basics

    Could One Bitcoin Come To Be Worth $1 Million? Q&A

    "If Bitcoin lives up to its potential and becomes the working capital of international trade, it could be used for cross border transactions."
  5. Investing Basics

    What is Bitcoin Mining?

    How does Bitcoin get released into circulation?
  6. Investing News

    What Does the Fire Monkey Mean for Your Portfolio?

    The Chinese new year this year corresponds to the monkey, a quick-witted, playful, tricky figure that means well but has a penchant for causing trouble.
  7. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Financial Penny Stocks for 2016 (CPSS, ASRV)

    Learn about some of the most promising penny stocks in the financial services sector that investors can consider adding to their portfolio for 2016.
  8. Investing

    Blockchain: The Backbone of Finance's Entire Future

    What is blockchain, and why is it now being used for everything from tracking loans to authenticating diamond purchases?
  9. Investing News

    JP Morgan's Blockchain Trial Project

    A glance at JP Morgan's blockchain trial in association with Digital Asset Holdings.
  10. Investing News

    Why 2016 Might Be the Year for the First Bitcoin Unicorn 

    Many people believe that 2016 could be the year that the first bitcoin company with a value of more than $1 billion will emerge.
  1. Is Bitcoin legal in the US?

    The digital currency known as bitcoin was created in 2009 by a person called Satoshi Nakamoto, but whose true identity has ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How is a block chain network useful for trading goods and assets in virtual currencies?

    Perhaps the most famous quote associated with blockchain technology came from an anonymous virtual currency user, who described ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does a block chain record in a bitcoin exchange transaction?

    The bitcoin blockchain is essentially an enormous, shared, encrypted list of which addresses hold what bitcoin balances. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does a block chain prevent double-spending of Bitcoins?

    Double-spending – the incidence of one individual successfully spending a Bitcoin balance more than once – is a major concern ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Will M1 ever become obsolete?

    The form of M1 money in an economy may change over time, but M1 money will continue to exist for the foreseeable future; ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why does fighting money laundering reduce overall crime?

    Money laundering is the process of converting funds received from illegal activities into ostensibly clean money that does ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center