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The winner of last week's U.S. Marshals Service auction of nearly 30,000 bitcoins has been revealed to be California venture capitalist Tim Draper, a bitcoin-positive investor who plans to use the hoard to further the cryptocurrency's reach. "Bitcoin frees people from trying to operate in a modern market economy with weak currencies," Draper explained in a statement provided via partner (and portfolio) bitcoin technology startup company Vaurum. "With the help of Vaurum and this newly purchased bitcoin, we expect to be able to create new services that can provide liquidity and confidence to markets that have been hamstrung by weak currencies."

Vaurum, which operates a bitcoin exchange aimed at financial institutions, suggested in a blog post that the plan with the new trove of bitcoins is to help build virtual currency infrastructure in places where "real" currencies can't be trusted because of problems like hyperinflation. Despite acknowledging the purchase, though, neither Draper nor Vaurum divulged how much was actually bid for the 30,000 bitcoins, which were seized when federal authorities shut down the online black market Silk Road.

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— Devin Coldewey, NBC News