Next Up, BTC: Bitcoin Auction Latest for U.S. Marshals Service

Next Up, BTC: Bitcoin Auction Latest for U.S. Marshals Service

The United States Marshals Service (USMS), the top law enforcement arm of America’s federal courts, auctioned off its latest batch of bitcoin associated with asset forfeitures on November 5th, 2018. 

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No Hodlers Here

On November 5th, the United States Marshals Service, one of the oldest agencies in America, held an online auction for around 660 bitcoin seized during recent U.S. law enforcement activities and court proceedings.

The bitcoin auction, which was held across two rounds or “series,” required participants to formally register with the USMS and put down deposits of $200,000.

After a rigorous registration process and a large cash deposit, the bitcoin were up for grabs. Image via USMS.

Like past USMS auctions, bidders made offers on “blocks” of bitcoin by filling out a bid form and emailing it in to the Marshals. The November 5th sale entailed six blocks of 100 bitcoin each in Series A and one block of 60 bitcoin in Series B.

“The eligible bidder who offers the highest price will be the prevailing bidder,” the USMS noted of their process. “If there are multiple bids at the highest price, the first bid received will prevail.”

Digital coins for hard cash on the government’s behalf.

As for the actual exchange of cryptocurrency, the “Bitcoin transfer process [begins] immediately following the receipt of purchase funds, or at a time chosen by the winning bidder(s),” per the Marshals.

By law, the USMS is required to facilitate the sales of forfeited assets derived from the activities of several federal bodies and agencies.

Marshals’ Familiarity with Crypto Has Come A Long Way

The USMS has already raked in millions of dollars from bitcoin auction sales this year, with sales stretching back to the start of 2018.

The Marshals first began auctioning BTC off in 2014 in the wake of the U.S. government’s Silk Road marketplace take-down. Back then, the USMS was selling the OG cryptocurrency when its price was still below $400.

“There was no expertise,” a Silk Road prosecutor has since commented of U.S. law enforcement’s bitcoin savviness at the time. “It was too new.”

Some Recognizable Faces

The November 2018 bitcoin auction involved BTC seized from two individuals the cryptoverse will recognize from recent headlines.

The United States v. Thomas Mario Costanzo case is an example. Costanzo was hit with money laundering charges in 2017 after an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sting caught the man funneling bitcoin through LocalBitcoins. Costanzo lost an appeal to suppress evidence in his case last December.

That appeal was a notable insofar as it saw a federal judge asserting that bitcoin was, in fact, a currency.

Also, the latest auction involved bitcoin seized from Los Angeles’s high-profile “Bitcoin Maven” case, wherein Theresa Tetley was charged with operating an illegal and bitcoin-based money transmission business.

Federal prosecutors originally sought to seize 40 bitcoin from Tetley. It’s currently unclear whether that full sum made it into the latest USMS auction.

What’s your take? Should the U.S. government sell its bitcoin via auctions? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images via U.S. Marshals Service, Pixabay

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