The U.S. Marshals Services announced on Thursday that it will auction nearly 30,000 bitcoins, estimated to be worth $17.3 million, which were seized in an operation from the online drugs marketplace Silk Road.
The Marshals Services also revealed that it still held 144,341.53 bitcoins belonging to the closed firm. Those bitcoins will be sold in a separate auction, reported Wall Street Journal.
The first auction will involve nine tranches of 3,000 bitcoins each and another one of 2,657 bitcoins, and will take place in 12 hours. Those who are interested in bidding for the virtual currency can submit their bids through a form on the U.S. Marshals website. The successful bidders will be contacted on June 30.
It is widely expected that the sale of such a large number of the virtual currency will weigh on its price in the marketplace. The price of bitcoin fell 7.15 percent on Thursday to trade at $583.04, based on CoinDesk data. The digital currency has emerged from April’s low of $344.24 to the current price.
However, bitcoin price is yet to edge back to the record high of $1,165.89 posted in December just before China and U.S. regulators mounted a crackdown on the currency, sending it tumbling down. Matters weren’t helped further by the collapse of leading exchange Mt. Gox in February this year.
Last October, the FBI charged Ross Ulbricht with operating Silk Road under an alias Dread Pirate Roberts. Ulbricht has denied all the charges levelled against him, though he has stated that he owns about 29,000 of the seized bitcoins. His trial is expected to begin in November 2. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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