You Can Own Bitcoins That May Have Purchased Drugs on Silk Road

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 13 2014 3:38 PM

You Can Own Bitcoins That May Have Purchased Drugs on Silk Road

bitcoin

Image from the U.S. Marshals Service.

U.S. paper currency has traces of cocaine on it, and bitcoins are starting to have a digital tinge of the drug trade too.

The U.S. Marshals Service says it will auction off bitcoins seized from the digital black market Silk Road last year. The government has been mulling an auction for a few months, but a spokesperson for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Office told Forbes in January, “We have not yet determined exactly how the Bitcoins will be converted and liquidated.” Now the answer is here: Bidding will open June 27. Start thinking of your magic number.

29,655 bitcoins currently worth about $17.5 million were taken from Silk Road when the FBI shut it down last year. As the Washington Post points out, the government also took possession of 144,336 bitcoins from Silk Road leader Ross William Ulbricht, but Ulbricht is currently fighting to reclaim that cryptocurrency.

Advertisement

To register for the auction (which you have to do by noon Eastern on June 23) you need to submit a signed copy of the Bidder Registration Form, a digitized copy of a government ID, and a $200,000 deposit wired from a bank in the United States. That may sound like a huge deposit, but it makes sense, given that bitcoins are going to be divided into 10 blocks for people to bid on—so each worth about $1.8 million today. (However, that could change, given how volatile bitcoin has been.) Bidding will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, and winners will be notified on June 30. They'll have to pay up by July 1 or lose their $200,000 deposit.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.