[June 13, 2014]
(Reuters) - The U.S.
government plans to auction about 30,000 bitcoin, the
electronic currency, valued at about $17.4 million, on
June 27 the U.S. Marshals Service said.
The bitcoin were seized during an FBI raid in October on the
Internet marketplace Silk Road, known as a hub for transactions
involving illegal drugs and criminal activities.
The bitcoin up for auction were contained in wallet files on the
Silk Road servers and do not include the bitcoins contained on the
computer hardware belonging to Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht,
known online as "Dread Pirate Roberts."
The virtual currency is transacted independent of central control
and is not backed by any government or central bank.
The FBI arrested Ulbricht in October and charged him with one count
each of narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking
conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
The auction will take place on June 27 on the U.S. Marshals Service
website over a 12-hour period and consists of nine blocks of 3,000
bitcoins and one block of 2,657 bitcoins. (http://r.reuters.com/tuv99v)
The U.S. Marshals Service said it would notify the winning bidders
by June 30.
FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langsmesser confirmed that about 144,342
additional seized bitcoins were transferred from the FBI e-wallet to
the U.S. Marshals Service e-wallet. The seized bitcoins are part of
the civil forfeiture and criminal action brought against Ulbricht
and the assets of Silk Road, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a
statement. These coins have not been put up for auction.