US Marshals to auction off seized Silk Road bitcoins

Later on this month, the US Marshals service will auction off some of the bitcoins seized when by the FBI when it arrested Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Part of the bitcoin stash seized by the FBI in the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht are set to go until the hammer at the end of the month.

Only the bitcoins found in wallet files that resided on Silk Road's servers are being auctioned off, the US Marshals' asset forfeiture notice said, and would not include any bitcoins that belonged to Ulbricht.

The exact number of bitcoins to be auctioned off is 29,656.51306529 bitcoins, with interested bidders needing to register with the US Marshals to take part in the auction. Interested bidders will need to provide a copy of a piece government-issued photo ID, and a US$200,000 deposit to be wired to the US Marshals originating from a bank within the United States.

The bitcoins will be auctioned off in 9 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins, and 1 block of 2,656.51306529 bitcoins. The auction will be conducted on June 27 between 6am and 6pm US Eastern Time.

Successful bidders will have until July 1, 5pm US EDT to wire the US Marshals the sale amount minus the deposit, or forfeit the US$200,000 deposit. Unsuccessful bidders will have their deposit returned after the auction.

"The USMS will not sell to any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht, and bidders will be required to so certify," the Marshals said.

Governments across the world are grappling with how to deal with bitcoin. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has created a taskforce to develop rules for taxing bitcoin in this Australian financial year.

"Transaction involving bitcoin and similar systems will have taxation consequences. The ATO is working on a holistic understanding of the taxation consequences of bitcoin to be in a better position to provide more complete advice by the end of the financial year," ATO briefing notes from February and obtained by the ABC under Freedom of Information said.

"Bitcoin is no more anonymous than physical cash. Conventional techniques that deal with tax evasion and avoidance should be applicable to any attempt to use bitcoin for tax evasion or avoidance."

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