Silk Road bitcoin hoard set for auction, says US authorities

US authorities say that 50,000 bitcoins are to be auctioned off in December.

The Guardian have quoted the US Marshals Service as saying that the huge hoard of bitcoin that was seized during the takedown of Silk Road will be sold in an online auction next month.

Said to be worth approximately $19.8m, the 50,000 bitcoin is going up for sale on December 5, and will be the second lot sold since Silk Road was shut down last year.

The first auction for 30,000 bitcoin took place in July of this year and was won by venture capitalist Tim Draper for an unspecified price.

It's claimed that this second load of the cryptocurrency belonged to Ross Ulbricht, the man US authorities believe was behind the creation and running of the Silk Road website.

Silk Road was essentially an auction website for buying and selling illegal goods and services; it was only accessible to cybercriminals using the anonymous Tor network.

A total of 144,336 bitcoin were recovered from the Ulbricht's computer hardware and the US government still has the remaining 94,341. They claim that the rest will be also be auctioned off in the months to come.

Ulbricht's first 50,000 will be auctioned off in 20 blocks and with the current price of bitcoin sitting at $395.49 per coin, the minimum value of the lot should be around $19,774,500 (£12,637,482).

Where the proceeds will go is currently uncertain. At the moment the all money raised from he sale will be held until Ulbricht's trial reaches its conclusion. He has pleaded not guilty to being known as the internet personna “Dread Pirate Roberts”, and will stand trial on January 5.