The US Marshals Service (USMS) announced that it will hold an online auction on June 27 to sell bitcoins contained in wallet files seized from the servers of Silk Road, the “deep web” black market shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in October 2013. The auction excludes bitcoins seized from Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged operator of Silk Road. Only pre-registered bidders will be permitted to participate in the auction. Registration for the auction will start on June 16 and end on June 23. A bidder may register by emailing the bidder registration form and a copy of its (or its control person’s) government‑issued photo ID to USMSBitcoins@usdoj.gov and sending a refundable $200,000 deposit by wire transfer from a US bank to an account designated by the USMS. The USMS will notify bidders whether they are eligible to participate in the auction. 

The auction, which will take place on June 27 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT, will be comprised of nine blocks of 3,000 bitcoins and one block of approximately 2,656.5 bitcoins, for a total of approximately 29,656.5 bitcoins. Bidders can bid on more than one block, but may win any number of blocks up to the maximum number of blocks on which they bid. The highest bidder will win, but if there are multiple highest bids, the bid that is first in time will win. Remaining blocks will be sold successively to the next-highest bidders until all blocks are sold. A bidder must submit a signed PDF of the bid form that will be provided to eligible bidders. All bids must be all cash offers in US dollars and neither financings nor installment purchases will be permitted. Bidders are responsible for all transfer fees. 

On June 30, the USMS will notify winning bidders, who must submit funds to cover the purchase price (less the initial $200,000 deposit) by wire transfer no later than July 1. A bidder must ensure that a wire transmittal receipt is provided to the USMS by the deadline or risk forfeiture of the deposit and disqualification and the bid being awarded to another bidder. 

Click here to read the auction announcement, and click here for a copy of the registration form.