For sale: 2,719.32669068 government-owned bitcoins
Bitcoins have plenty of legitimate uses, but the cryptocurrency also has a well-earned reputation as the financial asset of choice for cybercriminals. So it's not surprising that a fair number of bitcoins have wound up in law enforcement agencies' possession. And on Aug. 8, the U.S. Marshals Service announced that it was selling off a block worth more than $1 million.
The Marshals Service plans to auction off 2,719.32669068 bitcoins as a single block. Bids will be accepted until noon Eastern Time on Aug. 18, and bidders must put up a deposit of $100,000 to participate.
The bitcoins in question come from forfeitures in nine different cases, including one involving the founder of Silk Road -- the online black market site where bitcoin was the coin of the realm.
The market price fluctuates widely, but on Aug. 8 a single bitcoin was going for $593.61.
In the U.S. government's involvement with bitcoin has largely been limited to law enforcement seizures, but the underlying blockchain technology has sparked significant interest. Agencies including the Postal Service, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Reserve have explored potential uses.
Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN, as well as General Manager of Public Sector 360.
Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.