The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

U.S. Begins ‘Unprecedented’ Auction Of Silk Road Bitcoins

@AFP

Washington (AFP) – The bitcoin world kicked into high gear Friday as the U.S. government began auctioning some of the virtual currency seized in an FBI investigation of dark Web bazaar Silk Road.

The U.S. Marshals Service auction was taking place until 2200 GMT for 29,000 bitcoins — about $17 million at current rates, although bitcoin values have been highly volatile.

Bidders had to register last week with a deposit of $200,000 — in cash only from a bank transfer. Winners are to be notified Monday.

U.S. authorities have another wallet of over 144,000 bitcoins which is not currently up for sale, which makes Washington likely the largest holder of the controversial cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins, according to backers, allow for an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online, but some governments contend the lack of regulation creates huge risks, and that virtual currencies are often linked to money laundering and organized crime.

The digital wallets were seized by the FBI in its investigation of Silk Road, an online black market for drugs, hacker tools and other illegal goods and services.

Bitcoins were created by a computer programmer in a way that allowed only limited amounts to be created. Whether they represent a currency is debated, but they are not backed by any central bank or government.

Bitcoin Shop, a virtual currency marketplace, announced that it would be bidding for the government-held coins.

“We believe in the future of virtual currencies and have made a strategic decision to participate in this unprecedented opportunity by wiring the deposit and submitting a registration application to the USMS,” said chief executive Charles Allen.

Mark Williams, a Boston University finance lecturer and critic of virtual currencies, said the U.S. is simply trying to unload its holdings.

“This auction doesn’t validate bitcoin but simply demonstrated that the U.S. government is anxious to get out before prices drop again,” he said.

“The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has over 29,000 reasons to sell by private auction and sell now.”

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mohammed bin Salman, left, and Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

It’s not often that an article in Golfweek sets the tone for the actual week, but on Saturday the premier journal of hitting small balls with sticks noted continuing problems for the nascent LIV Golf tour. The schedule of tournaments isn’t full. The roster of big name players that LIV needs to make itself seem a legit competitor to the 93-year-old PGA Tour have failed to materialize. The team-based structure of LIV has failed to create the kind of rivalries that the creators suggested would help raise interest in the new offering.

However, all those concerns could turn out to be minor. That’s because a court case in California, where LIV has filed an antitrust suit against the PGA, has gone in a direction that LIV definitely, definitely did not want. While fighting back against this suit, the PGA has sought to compel discovery about the real sources behind the fund picking up the ticket on LIV’s considerable expenses. As it happens, a slip of the tongue from a LIV attorney during the trial revealed that the fund owns 93% of LIV Golf and covers all of its expenses.

Keep reading...Show less
Solomon Pena
Youtube Screenshot

Fox News has almost completely neglected to cover breaking news developments in a series of shootings that targeted the homes of multiple Democratic officials in New Mexico, neglecting a story that would potentially call further attention to the network’s own promotion of conspiracy theories about voter fraud.

On Monday, an Albuquerque SWAT team arrested Solomon Pena, naming him as the suspected “mastermind” behind a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of four local Democratic elected officials, including two county commissioners as well as the incoming speaker of the state House. Nobody was injured in the shootings, but in one instance bullets went through the bedroom of a 10-year-old girl while she was asleep.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}