The US Marshals Service has announced that the bitcoins sold in its auction on Friday went to one, lucky bidder. Now, the almost 30,000 bitcoins have been transferred to that winner.
The Marshals routinely seize the property of criminals, but only auction stuff off that’s legal. You wouldn’t have a heroin auction, for example. But they did auction the bitcoin seized from the black market website, Silk Road.
Why auction bitcoin?
“Because bitcoin is a legitimate asset," says Gil Luria, a managing director at Wedbush Securities. "And now the US Marshals Service has acknowledged that.”
But even with that legitimacy, bitcoin still isn’t easy to trade. To get it, you have to go to unregulated markets in places like Slovenia or China. Still, CoinDesk US editor Pete Rizzo says the auction helps.
“Is it raising awareness beyond where bitcoin was maybe a month ago? I think absolutely," he says. "Does it still have a long ways to go? I think yes.”
The new respectability has pushed up the price of bitcoin. And even though it fell when the Marshals first announced their auction, it’s made up the lost ground, and then some.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO