In a move sure to depress values, the U.S. Marshals Service plans to auction off nearly 30,000 bitcoins confiscated during its investigation into drug dealers on the Internet’s “Silk Road.”
The federal government confiscated just over 29,000 bitcoins last fall during its investigation into illegal drug dealing.
The Marshals Service announced that the coins would be auctioned off in nine blocks beginning on June 27. Eight blocks would consist of 3,000 bitcoins each, with a ninth amounting to 2,657. Bids will be taken on the Marshals Service website.
Such a large sale all at once, though, might lead to a devaluation of the e-currency. As The Wall Street Journal reported, bitcoin prices are already down.
“Bitcoin’s price was down 7.15% Thursday to $583.04, according to the CoinDesk bitcoin price index, after having staged a two-month recovery from a recent low of $344.24 hit on April 11,” the Journal said.
In its press release, the Marshals also noted that it had confiscated an additional 144,342 bitcoins that will also be sold off at a later date. These coins were owned by Ross Ulbricht, 30, the man said to be behind Silk Road.
Though he is pleading not guilty, the federal government charged Ulbricht with drug trafficking, money laundering, and computer hacking. He is being held without bail in New York. He has also been charged separately in Maryland in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.
Ulbricht’s next trial date is November 2.
The Silk Road supposedly had over one million customers and $1.2 billion in sales. Ulbricht is said to have made $80 million in commissions.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.