In October last year the US government shut down the notorious trading website Silk Road, and in the process of doing that they seized a huge amount of the virtual currency Bitcoin. The 29 year old owner of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht is currently awaiting trial on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking and the $18 Million worth of Bitcoin found on the Silk Road servers that was seized by the FBI is now going up for auction. The sale will be conducted by the US Marshals Service with the actual amount in Bitcoins being that of 29,656.51306529 and does not include the massive amount found on the personal computers of Ulbricht that’s thought to be worth over $85 Million.
Silk Road was the online trading place for many criminals and last year a study by Carnegie Mellon University estimated that around $1.2 Million worth of trades took place on the site each and every month. The combination of the anonymity that Bitcoin provides with the fact that Silk Road itself was very hard to find made it the perfect place for illicit trading, and documents provided by the FBI state that there were over $1 Million users. The price of Bitcoin fell slightly on the news of the sale and potential buyers will have to front a deposit of a minimum of $200,000 in cash if they are interested in making the purchase, in fact, all offers for the Bitcoins must be made in cash.
The closure of Silk Road illustrated the potential dangers of dealing in Bitcoin and this is in part the reason as to why the virtual currency is moving forward at a slow pace. Just last week however with the announcement that Bitcoin was to be accepted by the online travel giant of Expedia, a stamp of approval was given by one of the worlds busiest websites, exposing the currency to millions more users. In the world of online gaming, the largest US facing operation to accept the currency is that of the online poker room Americas Cardroom where users may deposit and withdraw in Bitcoin, with the currency being exchanged for USD for play at the tables.