US gov prepping second Bitcoin auction this month after ‘trial run’ succeeds

An auctioneer's gavel, auction paddles and a microphone sit on an orange background next to a Bitcoin symbol

The US General Services Administration (GSA) is gearing up to auction $350,000 worth of Bitcoin — the agency’s second crypto sale this month.

GSA Auctions is usually responsible for selling off assorted federal bric-a-brac like office furniture, old vehicles, and even aircraft parts.

But the GSA has scheduled a 48-hour commission-free auction for March 29 which will see 6.79 BTC up for grabs.

The GSA’s previous Bitcoin auction — labeled a ‘trial run’ by the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service — took place last week with 0.75 BTC selling for $53,000. That was 20% higher than its market value at the time.

Anyone that wants to get involved will need to register in advance. They’ll also need a digital wallet to receive the Bitcoin, as well funds to pay via wire transfer no later than April 2, 2021. 

Auctions for seized Bitcoin have cost the Feds $9B

This may only be GSA Auctions’ second Bitcoin rodeo but the Feds have been selling off seized crypto since 2014.

Usually, the US offloads Bitcoin through the US Marshals Service. The most notable US Marshals auction involved 174,000 BTC seized following the arrest of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.

The US sold Silk Road’s Bitcoin in four separate batches between June 2014 and November 2015 and raised nearly $66 million.

GSA Auctions’ site is full of Bitcoin.

Thing is, Bitcoin is worth a lot more in 2021. Take venture capitalist Tim Draper for example — in 2014 he bought 30,000 BTC seized from Silk Road for $18.5 million.

And while that particular stash is likely long gone (Draper used it as liquidity for a crypto exchange that no longer exists), it would’ve been worth $1.5 billion if he’d kept it ’til today.

In fact, according to Jameson Lopp’s portal for tracking the schadenfreude value of Bitcoin sold by the US Marshals, the Feds have let somewhere in the region of $9 billion slip through its paper hands by selling seized Bitcoin rather than stacking it.

[Read more: US hacking victim ‘very anxious’ for Ireland to return their stolen Bitcoin]

But it’s not just the US government leveraging seized crypto to swell its coffers.

Last week, French authorities sold off $34.5 million worth of Bitcoin tied to the 2019 GateHub hack. One mystery bidder even paid five times over the odds.

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