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US marshals prepare to auction $37 million in seized Bitcoin in February

By Amanda Cooper

The US Marshals Service will auction around $37 million in Bitcoin seized from various federal criminal and civil cases

The US Marshals Service will auction up to $37 million in confiscated Bitcoin this month.

The USMS said on its website the sealed auction for 4,040.54 Bitcoin would be separated into four series, each comprising different sized blocks of Bitcoin. Based on current Bitcoin prices of around $9,170 a coin, this would equal roughly $37 million (€33.5 million, £28.4 million)

Registering to take part in the auction started on February 3 until February 12, the USMS said. The auction itself takes place on February 18, from 8:00 AM EST to 2:00 PM EST (1300-1900 GMT)

“The USMS will endeavor to notify the winning bidder(s) by 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, however the number of bids received and the complexity of the review process may require additional review time,” the statement said.

The coins up for sale were recovered by the USMS through various federal criminal, civil and administrative cases, the department said.

To take part in the auction, prospective bidders will need to pay a deposit of $200,000. The USMS said it would return the deposit to losing bids within five business days of transferring the Bitcoins to the winning bidders.

Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation. At $164.8 billion, it dwarfs runners-up Ethereum, at $20.4 billion and Ripple, at $10.98 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

This isn’t the first such auction of seized Bitcoin. The highest-profile sale to date was the USMS’s 2017 auction of $48 million in Bitcoin that it seized from the illicit online marketplace Silk Road back in 2013.

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