US government auctioning 4,000 bitcoins worth $39M recovered from criminal cases

Bidding window is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST Tuesday

The U.S. government on Tuesday is auctioning more than 4,000 bitcoins --- worth nearly $39 million --- that were recovered from criminal cases.

The required $200,000 individual deposit cost to participate in the auction, which was due Feb. 12, will be retained by U.S. Marshall Service and credited toward the purchase price, the USMS said in a Feb. 10 announcement.

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The bidding window for four series of different bitcoin block purchases is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST Tuesday, according to the announcement, which lists dozens of specific criminal, civil and administrative cases from which the bitcoins were recovered.

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Foreign citizens can participate in the online auction unless they appear on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control list of "Specially Designated Nationals." All participants must fit registration requirements, including "certifying that the bidder is not acting in concert with the defendants or defendant entities," the notice says.

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The USMS held its first-ever bitcoin auction in 2014 after the FBI seized about 30,000 bitcoins from a black market website called the Silk Road that shut down in 2012. Venture capitalist Tim Draper was the single winning bidder for all 10 auction blocks, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

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