The U.S. Marshal Service is set to auction off another set of bitcoins is seized from Ross Ulbricht’s account. Ross Ulbricht was found guilty of drug trafficking, money laundering and other crimes related to running the infamous Silk Road marketplace earlier this month. This is the third set of Silk Road bitcoins auctioned off by the government, this round totals 50,000 bitcoins, worth roughly US $11.9 Million at press time.
The two previous auctions of Silk Road bitcoins by the U.S. Marshal Service took place in June and December 2014. They contained 29,655 and 50,000 Bitcoins respectively. Like the December auction, the sized bitcoin will be sold off in 20 groups: 10 groups of 2,000 and 10 groups of 3,000. The deadline for bits will be Tuesday, March 3, at 5pm. The winners will be informed of their success on Friday, March 6.
Tim Draper won the June auction, taking home all 29,655 bitcoins. He won a block of 2,000 bitcoins in the second auction but it was the Bitcoin Investment Trust that won the majority of the coins in the second auction. Draper has not commented publicly since the news broke but would be an obvious front runner for the coins.
Bidders will not be able to see other bids and will not be able to change their bid once it is submitted. Registration and a deposit is required to bid. The deposit is dependent on the amount you bid, any realistic bid would require a deposit of five, or more likely six figures.
Bidders will also have to submit to the government’s scrutiny, providing valid government ID in order to, among other things, prove that they have no connection to the Silk Road or Ross Ulbricht. If handing over personal information to the government while bidding on bitcoins allegedly used in the past for criminal activity, participants may have reason to worry. After the June auction, the government accidentally leaked the email addresses of every bidder, the auction was originally meant to be anonymous.
The agreement to sell the bitcoins came before Ulbricht’s conviction. The deal was that if Ulbricht was found not guilty, he would receive the proceeds of the auction in fiat. Presumably, if Ulbricht wins his inevitable appeal, this would still be the case.
Ulbricht faces life in prison if convicted. If the planned appeal does not go through, then Ulbricht is scheduled for sentencing on May 15, 2015.