back to article Mystery bidder plunders the whole haul in Silk Road Bitcoin auction

The US Marshals Service says the entire hoard of Bitcoins seized from shuttered online drugs souk Silk Road have gone to a single bidder in an auction held on Friday. The 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that prosecutors wrested from wallets belonging to Silk Road have an estimated real-world value of around $19m at today's exchange …

  1. FrankAlphaXII

    A Speculative Fiction

    Since Berkshire Hathaway doesn't really play with currencies, crypto or otherwise, they do stocks and insurance, I doubt it was Warren Buffett.

    Carl Icahn I can see doing it though. Or JP Morgan Chase, but they just had a pretty bad day with their CEO going public about his cancer diagnosis so telling the world they bought a shitload of bitcoins probably wouldn't be welcomed by investors. Or it may have been HSBC since they already have a huge shadow banking interest in Mainland China, in which Bitcoin could definitely be applied to in the future.

    1. Kanhef

      Re: A Speculative Fiction

      Wouldn't have been Icahn – he only cares about short-term profiteering. Bidding high enough to win all of the blocks of coins means they probably paid above market value, so this is probably someone who expects their value to continue growing long-term.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: A Speculative Fiction

      I'm not so sure about HSBC. The regulatory environment in China is distinctly unfriendly towards Bitcoin, despite around 80% of the BTC/fiat transactions taking place there.

      1. Titus Technophobe

        Re: A Speculative Fiction

        Legendary VC Tim Draper has announced he won each of the nearly 30,000 Bitcoins the government auctioned off Friday.

        At least that is what I have read.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge


    Or stolen (again)?

  3. Sir Barry

    My money is on the Winklepicker twins seeing as they are such staunch advocates of Bitcoin as demonstrated by the creation of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      My money is on the Winklepicker twins

      I thought that for a moment but aren't they all about PR and leveraged never-never rather than actual money?

      1. Tom 13

        Re: PR and leveraged never-never rather than actual money

        That sounds like a good description of Bitcoin to me.

  4. Efros

    Kim dot com?

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    (But seriously, why is no-one asking why Luxembourg and Belgium are being positively stuffed with US govnm't obligations at the present time? A far more interesting question.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cache of more than 173,000 Bitcoins

    I thought he would have managed to bury this cache somewhere in the woods, and it might get unearth in, like 400 years or something....

  7. h4rm0ny

    Not yet faced trial?

    How can his goods (the Bitcoins) be auctioned off if he hasn't yet faced trial, let alone actually been convicted?

    1. Tenacal

      Re: Not yet faced trial?

      The bitcoins were deemed to have been profits/reserves (property, if nothing else) of the Silk Road website - illegal regardless of who ran the site. If Ulbricht is found to be innocent then the government would say the coins were never his in the first place and so there is no problem.

      A judge ruled that Ulbricht's personal stash cannot be touched until he is found guilty, as would be the case for any currency/property in any case.

      1. h4rm0ny
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Not yet faced trial?

        Interesting. Thanks for the response. It sounds like a bit of an exploit to be honest. He had control of the money (let's not debate whether BitCoin is money or not), correct? So they say if you're innocent, it was never your money and we still get to keep it. A website cannot own money. If the money were deemed to be property of the website, then surely ultimately it belongs to the owner(s) of that website. Was that not him?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Not yet faced trial?

          But whoever owned the website would be a Criminal and it would be proceeds of crime.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Not yet faced trial?

      RICO prosecution, which was intended to allow the State to bring down mobs that were otherwise impervious to standard legal processes. You know, people involved in drug running and murder for hire.

      One of the things it allows the police to do is impound assets before the trial. And if you have proof that the asset was used as part of a drug deal, the asset can be seized regardless of whether there is proof the owner was part of the transaction. It use to be that if Vinny told Guido to take his car and go take care of the smack buy, if Guido got caught and kept his mouth shut, Vinny got the car back. With the new law, Vinny loses the car regardless. While this has beneficial effects when we assume Vinny and Guido are guilty, it has "unfortunate" effects elsewhere. Say you own a nice Bentley and it gets stolen. You report it to the police. The next day the police bust Guido for making a smack buy while he was driving your Bentley. Even though the police have now recovered your car, you're still out your Bentley because it was part of a drug buy. And that's what is happening here.

      While recognizing the difficulty of bringing the mob to heal, I am for the repeal of RICO.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black Ops

    The winner was probably a three letter agency who already knew the other bids. A very handy resource for black ops and paying bribes or informers.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Black Ops

      Well they have the means, the motive and the resources to do such a thing.

      But that would be wrong.

      1. Scroticus Canis
        Big Brother

        Re: Black Ops - It's the NSA wot dun it

        I refer you to the Reg article where the NSA is accused of buying zeroday exploits, seems like a nice deniable way of paying for them.

    2. The First Dave

      Re: Black Ops

      But they also have access to enough computing power to be able to mine their own coins at a fraction of the cost...

  9. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge


    I am surprised that the USMS has not released the name or names of the winner. It is by its nature a matter of public record. I would think that they would have to release it if a FoIA request were made.

    How about it, El Reg?

  10. emmanuel goldstein

    buyer identified

    according to zerohedge it was venture capitalist Tim Draper.

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