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US Government to auction over $17m of Silk Road bitcoins

This week, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) announced that it would be auctioning more than 29,600 bitcoins that were seized in the Silk Road closure last year.

The coins, which have an estimated value of over $17.5 million (£10.3 million), do not include those found on the personal computer of Ross William Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder, but were instead seized from six different wallets on the website's servers.

Read more: Silk Road successor robbed of $2.6m worth of bitcoins

In order to participate in the auction, bidders will have to complete the government's Bidder Registration Form and submit a copy of a government issued ID, along with a $200,000 deposit wired to an American bank. The USMS also stated that the winning bidder must pay the full amount in cash for the items, as instalments will not be accepted.

"The USMS will not sell to any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht, and bidders will be required to so certify," the USMS added.

The auction was originally announced back in January by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. In an interview with Ars Technica, Ross William Ulbricht's attorney, Joshua Drattel said that his client would only be contesting the bitcoins that were found on his computer.

"Ross has filed a claim only for the bitcoins seized from his laptop, not those from the Silk Road servers."

Read more: An in-depth look at Bitcoin: Is it the future of money, or merely a phase?

The deadline for bidders to register for the auction is 9am Eastern Time (3pm BST) on 16 June.