Someone just bought $19 million in Bitcoin from the government

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A single, mystery bidder just bought 29,656.5 bitcoins seized by the U.S. government from the Silk Road online black market, Wired reports. When the U.S. Marshall invited bids for the 29,656.5 bitcoin-haul last month, the alternative currency took a hit on the news – falling from $634.38 to $568.87. The market has hardly budged (so far) on news of the sale today, according to bitcoin price metrics provided by Coinbase and Coindesk. The auction was scheduled to take place June 27. Although the exact amount paid by the bidder is unclear, Wired and others estimate that $19 million was paid — an estimate which aligns with the current bitcoin to USD exchange rate. These coins do not specifically belong to Pirate Dread Roberts aka. Ross William Ulbricht, who the FBI arrested in October for owning and operating Silk Road. These are coins which existed on the Silk Road’s servers.

Somebody just bought a whole heck of a lot of bitcoins. Last week, the US Marshals’ Service auctioned off 29,656.5 bitcoins it had seized from the Silk Road, the online illicit drug marketplace the feds shutdown this past autumn, and on Tuesday, the service said it has moved all those bitcoins — the equivalent of about $19 million (£11 million) — into the online wallet of the lucky auction winner. Lynzey Donahue, a spokeswoman for the service confirmed that the entire stash of seized bitcoins went to a single bidder, but she wouldn’t say who that was — or how much they paid for the bitcoins. Speculation in the bitcoin community is that they went for pretty close to market value. That’s about $640 (£373) today. Bitcoin is the world’s most popular digital currency — a new type of money that can significantly change the way we pay for things and transfer funds from place to place — and the Marshals’ auction generated a lot of interest. The service sold the bitcoins in 10 lots of about 3,000 bitcoins each, and Donahue says that there were a total of 63 bids made by 45 bidders. Bidders put in their bids on Friday, and they were notified about whether they won or not on Monday. The auction caused some anxiety in the bitcoin markets, where a one-off purchase of several thousand bitcoins could move the price by more than $100, according to current order books. The big worry was that someone would snatch up the bitcoins for a song and then sell them, depressing the market. There are just under 13 billion bitcoins in circulation, putting the total market cap of the emerging digital currency at around $8.3 billion (£4.8 billion). And another auction could be on the way. The feds have also have second stash of 144,342 bitcoin, seized from Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road’s alleged mastermind.

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