On March 15, the federal government’s General Services Administration will be auctioning .7501 Bitcoin, with bids starting at $25,000 (currently, .7501 BTC is worth about $38,1114). So far there has been no information released about where this small amount of Bitcoin came from or why the government is selling it.
No information about where the coin came from is offered, other than the disclosure that a successful bidder must complete a “Forfeiture Property Sales Certification Form,” suggesting the Bitcoin was seized somehow. Instead of holding Bitcoins, the federal government’s policy has been to sell the hundreds of thousands of coins it has seized over the past few years,. Previously, the U.S. Marshals told Motherboard that it considers Bitcoin a “financial instrument” like foreign currency. The agency converts and directly deposits foreign currency into the DOJ’s asset forfeiture fund, but bitcoins are first auctioned off along with property such as seized cars and boats.
Of course, for the federal government, .7501 Bitcoin is a paltry sum of money, and the most interesting thing about this auction is where the Bitcoin came from—maybe from under the couch or hidden away on a USB stick somewhere? The mind wanders with the possibilities.
After seizing 144,336 Bitcoins from the Silk Road’s operator in 2013, the federal government spent the next four years selling them for a grand total of $48 million. With each coin today fluctuating at a value of about $50,000, that hoard of coins would be worth $7.3 billion in today’s bubble. Then again, given Bitcoin’s never-ending speculative rise, that sale of $48 million was undoubtedly more than the coins were worth when seized to begin with.
Motherboard reached out to the GSA for more information on the sale but the contracting officer was not available for comment.