Feeds

Mystery bidder plunders the whole haul in Silk Road Bitcoin auction

Feds keep mum on who and for how much – can YOU guess?

The Power of One Infographic

The US Marshals Service says the entire hoard of Bitcoins seized from shuttered online drugs souk Silk Road have gone to a single bidder in an auction held on Friday.

The 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that prosecutors wrested from wallets belonging to Silk Road have an estimated real-world value of around $19m at today's exchange rates. We don't know whether the winner got a good deal on them, though, because the feds did not disclose the value of the winning bid.

They didn't say who placed the bid, either, although it might be possible to guess. In an embarrassing cock-up two weeks ago, the US Marshals managed to leak the entire list of potential bidders when it cc'ed them all in a mass email.

The list of suspects mostly included Wall Street types and representatives of various Bitcoin companies, and while none has yet confirmed that they were the winner, several have already stepped forward to say that they were outbid.

Among the firms who said they had not received any of the Bitcoins were the Bitcoin Shop, CoinApex, Coinbase, Pantera Bitcoin, and Rangeley Capital, according to a report by The New York Times.

Barry Silbert of SecondMarket, which had organized a syndicate of 42 bidders to participate in the auction, said his firm had also been outbid on every block of coins it went for.

The FBI seized the Bitcoin haul following the arrest of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht in October. Although Ulbricht – who maintains his innocence – has yet to stand trial, the confiscated digital funds were auctioned off under federal forfeiture laws as "proceeds of a criminal enterprise."

What has not yet been auctioned, however, is a separate cache of more than 173,000 Bitcoins that are said to belong to Ulbricht himself. Ulbricht's lawyer has challenged the feds' authority to seize those assets, and a judge has stayed that civil forfeiture proceeding pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

Or make that trials. Ulbricht is due to answer drugs trafficking and money laundering charges in a New York court in November. Even if he makes it through that gauntlet, however, he will then be tried in Maryland on the much more serious charge that he tried to arrange the contract killings of six people over disputes related to Silk Road.

More than one of the charges against Ulbricht carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.