Another winner of the second auction of Bitcoins seized by the US Marshals in relation to the Silk Road case has been revealed. The Bitcoin Investment Trust announced that it has won the majority of the auction, 19 of the total 20 “blocks” were picked up by the trust, totaling 48,000 bitcoins, worth roughly US$16.6 million at press time.
The remaining 2,000 bitcoins were sold to Tim Draper, which he announced last week. He also purchased the majority of the first auction of Bitcoins seized from the Silk Road back in June.
The Bitcoin Investment Trust is a wholly owned subsidiary of Second Market, which enables companies, individuals and trusts to invest and hold various assets like stocks, in a simplified way. The Bitcoin Investment Trust is built for those who want to invest in Bitcoin's price but don't want to worry about security issues or figuring out how to use the Bitcoin network.
The trust is limited to investors who can afford the US$25,000 buy-in. It was founded by Barry Silbert, who also founded SecondMarket. He resigned from SecondMarket before moving on to the Bitcoin Investment Trust. The Bitcoins were transferred to the trust on Monday.
Announcement: the syndicate we organized in conjunction with our trading division affiliate won 48,000 #bitcoin in the US Marshals auction— Bitcoin Trust (@BitcoinTrust) December 9, 2014
The Bitcoins were seized by the US Marshals in relation to the Ross Ulbricht case. Ross Ulbricht is accused of running the Silk Road underground marketplace. He has plead not guilty. If Ulbricht is found not guilty, the funds raised in the auction will be returned to him in cash value. His trial is set for January 5.
The US Marshal Service sent an email to CoinDesk and other members of the media. It reads via CoinDesk:
“The U.S. Marshals Service is confirming that the recent bitcoin auction resulted in two winning bidders. One bidder won 19 blocks, totaling 48,000 bitcoins, and the other won one block of 2,000 bitcoins. Because SecondMarket has voluntarily come forward, we can confirm that it was the winner of 48,000 bitcoins, and the transfer of those bitcoins was completed Monday.”
Announcement: Pleased to share that the syndicate organized by @BitcoinTrust & our trading division won 48k bitcoin auctioned by US Marshals— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) December 9, 2014
The total number of bids and bidders decreased since the June auction of 30,000 bitcoins. With 11 bidders and 27 total bids, the auction compared to 45 bidders and 63 total bids in June.
There have been several theories as to why. Some point to increased participation in various trusts, but others have suggested it may be due to decreased interest. Bitcoin is trading significantly lower than it was back in June, and short-term investors who don't understand the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin, may have decided to move on to what they see as greener pastures.
It should be pointed out that overall investment in Bitcoin is strong. It is well-documented that venture-capitalist investments are pouring into the industry, but they are people who believe in the technology itself, while short-term investors are only interested in its short-term price.
Another thing to consider, however, is the significantly shorter window of opportunity. The June auction lasted 12 hours, while this auction was only open for six.
It is possible that all three popular theories played a part in the decreased participation in the second auction.
The price for both Tim Draper's 2,000-bitcoin haul and the Bitcoin Investment Trust's 48,000-bitcoin haul have not been disclosed. It will be up to the winners to decide whether they want to reveal to the public what they each paid. Cointelegraph has reached out to the Bitcoin Investment Trust for comment, but at press time has not received a reply.
According to their most recent financial statements, the trust has gained a 10 % profit in the past month, but still sits at -66 % year to date. Despite a rough 2014, the Bitcoin Investment Trust's investments have still gone up 188 % since its inception.
The US Marshals have reportedly seized 173,991 total bitcoins, allegedly from the Silk Road servers and Ulbricht's computers. The remaining bitcoins will be auctioned off in the coming months, but no specific date has been given.
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