The Feds Just Turned a $1.6 Million Profit on Seized Silk Road Bitcoin

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

An anonymous bidder purchased 2,700 bitcoins worth about $1.6 million in an anonymous auction held by US Marshals Service on Monday. The Feds confirmed the sale to CoinDesk, a site that reports on the digital currency, and said that four bids were received in the auction.


The US Marshals announced earlier this month its plans to auction off some of the assets seized through criminal, civil, and administrative cases involving the dark web commerce market the Silk Road. The agency made 2,719 bitcoins available for purchase during the auction.

If you’re wondering who won the bid, you’re not alone. Winners of these types of auctions only have to make themselves public if they choose. For example, New York-based bitcoin exchange itBit publicly confirmed it purchased one of the auction blocks in November when US Marshals sold other Silk Road assets. The winner of the most recent auction remains a mystery.


Three years ago, when the US government busted Silk Road, everyone’s favorite illegal drug website, it seized a massive bitcoin wallet worth about $28 million. The Feds have since been auctioning off those assets. In November, it held four separate auctions to rid themselves of the assets seized by the Silk Road. In the fourth auction, the agency sold 44,000 bitcoins worth about $14.6 million.

Technology editor at Gizmodo.

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Technically, the US gained $1.6M in revenue. In order to figure out profit (which is generally referred to as a surplus in government and other nonprofits), we’d need to know the expenses involved in the auction, and the FBI case in general.

Pedant over.

Now, the real question is why one would buy $1.6M worth of bit coins, when literally lighting that much cash on fire is both more fun and more to the point.