FBI seized the bitcoins during a raid in October on the Internet
marketplace Silk Road, known as a hub
for transactions involving illegal drugs and criminal activities.
The news was first reported by the New York Times, citing a report from CoinDesk, an online website devoted to Bitcoin. (http://nyti.ms/1lANHXU)
The U.S. government said last week it plans to auction about 30,000 bitcoins, the electronic currency, valued at about $17.4 million, on June 27 the U.S. Marshals Service said.
The seized bitcoins are part of the civil forfeiture and criminal action brought against Silk Roadowner Ross William Ulbrich and the assets of Silk Road, the U.S. Marshals Service said.
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"The U.S. Marshals Service inadvertently sent an email today revealing the email addresses of people who had submitted questions about the Bitcoin auction to a general USMS mailbox that had been created for the auction," Lynzey Donahue, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals, said in an emailed statement.
The Marshals Service confirmed that it accidentally released the names in an email to update interested parties on the auction’s guidelines.
(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bangalore; Additional reporting by Narottam Medhora and Ankit Ajmera; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Pit Boss and Chief Squawker Allen Stevo gives out the price for a Bitcoin during Satoshi Square at the Bitcoin Center NYC in New York May 22, 2014 REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
CoinDesk has a list of people who inquired about the auction, including Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of Coinbase, a Bitcoin payment processor, the New York Times said.
A list of potential bidders for the Bitcoin auction was accidentally leaked by the U.S. Marshals Service on Wednesday, according to the agency.
"The USMS apologizes for this mistake which was in no way intentional," the statement said.
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