Global professional services firm Ernst & Young has announced it will auction off 24,518 BTC (worth $12.9m) originally confiscated by a user of defunct online dark market Silk Road.

The sale will represent the end of a process that began in late 2014 when law enforcement officials in Australia confiscated the bitcoins from Richard Pollard, a Melbourne native who was later sentenced to 11 years in prison for commercial drug trafficking.

Ernst & Young said in a statement today that the auction will be held over a 48-hour period beginning at 12.01am AEST on 20th June 2016. As previous auctions held by the US Marshals Service (USMS) in the US, bitcoins for sale will be divided into blocks of 2,000 BTC (worth just over $1m), with a total of 11 blocks set for sale.

In statements, EY Transactions partner Adam Nikitins said he believes that the auction is likely to attract buyers from North America and Europe, as they were among the most active participants in the four previous auctions held in the US.

Nikitins said:

“We are targeting sophisticated investors who can see the value of investing in a growing digital asset.”

Interested parties are now able to submit applications to Ernst & Young for inclusion in the auction before a 7th June deadline, with the goal of all information necessary for the process being collected by 10th June.

Notably, the event is likely to take place prior to the halving of rewards paid to transaction processors on the bitcoin network, scheduled to take place this July.

The timing of the event suggests that the economics of the bitcoin market continue to be a consideration during public sales events of confiscated digital currency.

Auction image via Shutterstock

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