Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper makes big bet on bitcoins in government auction

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper has snapped up nearly 30,000 bitcoins in a U.S. government auction and now plans to sell the digital currency in countries trying to build stronger economies.

The U.S. Marshals Service says Draper prevailed over 44 other bidders registered for an auction of bitcoins seized last year from Silk Road, a website that stockpiled the currency while selling illegal drugs.

The auction took place last week, but the winner wasn't identified until Wednesday. Draper says he is using a system that has set up trading platforms in emerging markets to circulate the bitcoins.

Unlike most forms of money, bitcoins aren't backed by any government.

The amount Draper paid for the bitcoins isn't being revealed. Their current market value is roughly $19 million.