The U.S. Marshals Service has announced that it will auction off more than 3,800 bitcoins later this month.
The auction will take place on Jan. 22, according to a representative from the service. The event marks the first time since 2016 that the U.S. Marshals Service has held a bitcoin auction, after the agency sold off 2,700 bitcoins – an amount worth about $1.6 million at the time and now valued at about $51 million – in August of that year.
At press-time prices, the 3,813 BTC up for grabs is worth roughly $54 million.
The forthcoming auction follows a similar structure, according to the agency, with the stash of 3,813 bitcoins being divided into multiple auction blocks.
The Marshals Service explained:
"The auction will take place during a six-hour period Jan. 22 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. EST. Bids will be accepted by email from preregistered bidders only. The 3,813 bitcoins are offered for sale in 11 blocks: five blocks of 500 bitcoins, five blocks of 100 bitcoins and one block of approximately 813 bitcoins."
Prospective participants much register with the Marshals Service by noontime EST on Jan. 19, the agency said, a requirement that includes a $200,000 refundable deposit. The winner of the auction will be notified that same day.
The service had previously held several auctions in connection with bitcoins seized from the now-defunct dark market Silk Road. Over that months-long process, the Marshals Service auctioned more than 144,000 bitcoins.
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