The U.S. government announced on Monday (Aug. 8) that it is gearing up to auction off more than 2,700 bitcoin that were turned over to the government during several cases, many of which have to do with Silk Road, the underground website operator that was shut down in Oct. 2013.
In a statement, the U.S. Marshals Service said the bitcoin are worth around $1.6 million, and the auction will take place on Aug. 22. Those interested in bidding for the bitcoin have to register by Aug. 18. This is the fifth auction the U.S. Marshals Service has conducted, with four other auctions taking place from June 2014 to Nov. 2015. The bitcoin auctioned off previously were from the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht, who law enforcement said operated Silk Road. While only 2.8 bitcoin in the upcoming auction come directly from Ulbricht’s case, 1,294 are from a civil forfeiture case related to a Silk Road drug dealer who received a nine-year sentence in 2015. Another 65 are from Carl Force, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent that stole bitcoin during the Silk Road case, and 644 bitcoin are from Sean Roberson, a Florida resident who sold counterfeit credit and debit cards online.
Last February, Ulbricht was convicted of seven federal charges related to Silk Road, including drug trafficking and criminal conspiracy charges. The federal government contends he ran a huge online illegal drug trade that raked in billions of dollars selling illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine and crystal meth. Ulbricht faces life in prison as a result of the underground website. Ulbricht isn’t quietly accepting his sentence, however. He wants a retrial, citing the Fifth Amendment as a reason for a new trial, with his lawyers claiming they weren’t given enough time to review documents that would have showed he was innocent. In January, his defense team filed a 145-page argument as to why a new trial is needed, asking a higher court to throw out the conviction.