A federal judge in Utah has agreed to let the US government sell off a seized cache of over 513 bitcoins (BTC) and 512 Bitcoin Cash (BCH). At current prices, that would yield approximately $8.4 million for the bitcoins and nearly $1 million for the BCH.
In a court filing, prosecutors noted that due to the volatility of the Bitcoin market, both coins risk losing value. Both the BTC and the BCH have already been transferred to government-controlled wallets.
The new round of seized digital currency belonged to a Utah man named Aaron Shamo, whom prosecutors say led a multimillion-dollar ring of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, including oxycodone and alprazolam that were sold on Dark Web marketplaces. Shamo was arrested over a year ago—his trial has not yet been scheduled.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Dale Kimball allowed the sale to proceed. Once sold, the money would go to an account held at the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture.
Given Bitcoin’s incredible rise in price over the last year, the sale is likely to result in the highest number of dollars of any forfeited cryptocurrency associated with a criminal bust. In 2014, nearly 30,000 bitcoins that once belonged to the notorious Silk Road website were sold to Tim Draper, a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
The government is currently in a 60-day waiting period, which expires at the end of the year, before it can begin the process the sale in early 2018. At current exchange rates, those bitcoins would be worth approximately $23.6 million.
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