US Marshals Service sets up special sale

The US had planed to sell some of its Bitcoins via exchanges but instead has decided to hold an off-exchange auction on January 22.

The US Marshals Service announced the auction today. It will exclude small investors because the smallest blocks will be 100 Bitcoins, which have a market value of $1.4 million. Bidders are required to make a $200,000 deposit to participate in the auction.

In total, there will be 5 lots of 100 Bitcoin; 5 lots of 500 Bitcoin and one lot of 813 Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin were seized in 11 separate cases.

The mechanics of the auction are interesting. It will take place via sealed bids that must be submitted by 3:30 pm ET (2030 GMT) on January 22 and the winners will be announced "no later" than 5 pm ET.

"The winning bidder must send the purchase price funds (less the deposit amount) by a wire transfer originating from a bank located within the United States and provide a wire transmittal receipt to the USMS by 2:00 P.M. EST, on Tuesday, January 23, 2018" or forfeit the $200,000 deposit.

There is no reserve price.

At today's prices, the Bitcoin are worth just shy of $54 million. It will be interesting if someone tries to buy and hedge via futures or some other method.