| NEW YORK, June 27
NEW YORK, June 27 The U.S. Marshals Service on
Friday auctioned off about 30,000 bitcoins seized during a raid
on Silk Road, an Internet black-market bazaar where authorities
say illegal drugs and other goods could be bought.
An online auction took place over a 12-hour period on Friday
for the bitcoins, valued at nearly $17.7 million. It consisted
of nine blocks of 3,000 bitcoins and one block of 2,657
bitcoins. The Marshals Service has said it would notify the
winning bidders on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Marshals Service declined to say how
many bids the office received. Among those who said they
registered to participate in the auctions were SecondMarket and
Bitcoin Shop Inc.
Silk Road was shutdown after an FBI raid in September 2013
as agents took control of its server and arrested a Texas man,
Ross Ulbricht, that the authorities said owned and operated the
The auction was for 29,655 bitcoins contained in files
residing on its servers, which were forfeited in January.
Chris DeMuth, a partner at Rangeley Capital who had been
considering bidding, said last week the chance the Marshals
Service gets the market price for the bitcoins is low.
"Anyone could pay market prices on existing exchanges," he
said. "So the key question is how much of a discount do bidders
The Marshals are holding about 144,342 additional bitcoins
found on computer hardware belonging to Ulbricht that were
subject to a civil forfeiture proceeding.
Ulbricht, 30, is scheduled to face trial Nov. 3. He has
pleaded not guilty to the four counts against him, including
money laundering conspiracy and engaging in a continuing
U.S. authorities have separately charged three men - Andrew
Jones, Gary Davis and Peter Nash - in connection with their
alleged roles in assisting Ulbricht in operating Silk Road.
Bitcoin prices were up 3.1 percent Friday at $597.41 per
coin, according to the digital currency exchange CoinDesk.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Noeleen
Walder and Andre Grenon)