Next week, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) will be auctioning off “a portion of the bitcoins contained in wallet files that resided on certain computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht.” The sale will include a total of 50,000 BTC, divided into twenty smaller blocks. The bidder registration period is currently in progress and the auction itself is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, from 8 AM to 2 PM EST.
Anyone planning to bid on the bitcoins must submit a bidder registration form, a copy of a government-issued photo ID, and a deposit of at least $100,000. The necessary deposit might increase depending on the way that potential buyers wish to place their bids. Approved bidders will be notified via email and will receive a bid form.
There are ten Series A blocks for sale, containing 2,000 BTC each, and ten Series B blocks, containing 3,000 BTC each. During the actual auction period on March 5, bidders must submit their bid forms outlining the number of Series A and Series B blocks they would like to buy and how much they are willing to pay for each. Winners will be notified of their success on the following day and must submit a cash payment by Monday, March 9.
Ross William Ulbricht was allegedly the creator and administrator of the Silk Road, which was an underground, online bitcoin marketplace launched in February 2011. Authorities shut down the operation in October 2013. Just week’s ago, Ulbricht was convicted of seven charges related to running the site. While a variety of products (some completely legal) were sold through the platform, it was primarily known as a place to buy and sell drugs. According to the warrant for Ulbricht’s arrest, “There were nearly 13,000 listings for controlled substances on the website.”
This is the third bitcoin auction hosted by the USMS. The first one took place in June 2014 and consisted of nearly 30,000 BTC. Those coins were distinct in that they were stolen from the Silk Road’s internal accounts, not directly from Ulbricht. Presumably, that was money that users were keeping on deposit with the Silk Road when it was shut down. That auction was won by famed bitcoin investor, Tim Draper.
After this third auction concludes, the USMS will still possess roughly 44,000 BTC which is expected to be sold similarly in the coming months.
Daniel Brown is the editor-in-chief of You, Me, and BTC. There, he co-hosts the planet’s most entertaining Bitcoin podcast and writes about various crypto topics. He also works for Liberty.me, preparing content pages, bug testing, and doing anything else that needs to be done.