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US Marshals Auction Participant: Price Not Significantly Below Market

Op-ed - US Marshals Auction Participant: Price Not Significantly Below Market

The U.S. Marshals held their third auction for the bitcoin seized from Ross Ulbricht during the Silk Road investigation, auctioning off 50,000 bitcoin on March 5. Demand in this auction was higher than in the second auction held last December, but not as high as the original auction in June 2014.

All told, there were 14 registered bidders who participated in the auction. Participants in this auction included Barry Silbert and SecondMarket Inc., Pantera Capital led by Dan Morehead, and Kardashev Capital.

There were 10 blocks of 3,000 bitcoin and 10 blocks of 2,000 bitcoin available for bid. According to Kardashev Capital, whose bid of $221.51 per bitcoin was approximately 17 percent under the market value of the coins as of the close of bidding on Thursday, it did not win any lots. Bloomberg reports that SecondMarket also failed to win any blocks. Brendan O’Connor, managing director at New York-based SecondMarket, told Bloomberg that the trading division bid for every block, but was entirely unsuccessful.

“While we’re disappointed to learn that we weren’t a winning bidder, I’m glad to hear that the bitcoins sold closer to or even above market price,” said Kardashev Capital partner Greg Gum.

Tim Draper won all 30,000 bitcoin in the first auction. In the second, Tim Draper won a 2,000 bitcoin block, but a syndicate led by Barry Silbert’s SecondMarket won the remaining 48,000.

Of the total 173,991 bitcoin seized by the United States government, 130,000 have now been sold across three separate auctions held by the U.S. Marshals. The Marshals Service has indicated that it will sell the last remaining bitcoin in a similar auction at a future date.