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U.S. Marshals Plan Auction of 50,000 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

The U.S. Marshals Service plans to auction off another 50,000 bitcoins seized from the coffers of alleged Silk Road ringleader Ross Ulbricht during the takeover of the infamous Internet black market in October 2013. Like the Service's previous auction of seized bitcoins, which concluded in July, this one will be divided into two rounds. The first will feature 10 lots of 2,000 bitcoins, the second 10 lots of 3,000. A $100,000 deposit is required for the former, $150,000 for the latter, to ensure all bidders are serious. At today's exchange rates, the total value of the 50,000 bitcoins is about $19 million. That's only slightly more than the value of the previous collection of 30,000, owing to the fluctuating price of the currency. Last time the whole set was won by investor Tim Draper, but since bids are secret, we won't know who's participating in this auction (unless the Marshals Service leaks that information by accident again). The USMS told NBC News in an email that an additional 94,341 bitcoins remain to be auctioned "in the coming months."

Only weeks after federal agents raided Silk Road, another version sprang up. But Silk Road 2.0 too was taken down by the FBI two weeks ago. There's no word on whether any significant bitcoin stores were seized.

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