The US has announced that it will sell its hoard of accumulated Bitcoins from Silk Road in a public auction on June 27th. The 30,000 Bitcoins on sale have a total value of around $18 million and came into the possession of the US when the FBI closed down the illegal Silk Road website and seized the assets of its founder, Ross Ulbricht. This sale does not include Ulbricht's Bitcoins though.
Details on participating in the auction are available on the U.S. Marshals Service website. All prospective bidders must register between June 16th and June 23rd. If you were thinking of partaking in the auction, an upfront deposit of $200,000 is required.
The sale will begin at 6:00 AM EDT and end at 6:00 PM EDT, taking place online. The auction consists of nine separate blocks of 3,000 Bitcoins each with an additional block of 2,656.5 Bitcoins available that comprises the remainder of the offered amount. The winning bidder for each block will be notified by 5:00 PM EDT on Monday 30th June.
The FBI's closure of Silk Road last year attracted much attention as the site was used by criminals worldwide to order resources including drugs and firearms. Transactions made on it were untraceable as crypto-currency, Bitcoin, was the only means for completing transactions. The site could only be accessed through a hidden page on the Tor Network and relaunched as Silk Road 2.0 soon after the FBI closed it down.
If you are successful in bidding for a block of 3,000 Bitcoins, then you could end up profiting in the long term even after the $200,000 deposit. The value of Bitcoin fluctuates dramatically throughout the year and exchange rates have been consistently low since the collapse and subsequent bankruptcy of the Mt. Gox exchange earlier this year. Even so, 3,000 Bitcoin is still worth around $1,776,000.