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The US government will auction off $53 million of bitcoins

Graham Rapier
A man holds his hand up while bidding on a work of art inside the auction house Christie's during the Post-War and contemporary Art sale November 15, 2006 in New York City. Christie's estimates that works by Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein and others could go for up to $220 million in what the auction house says may be the most valuable post-World War II and contemporary art auction in history. Warhol's 'Mao' portrait from 1972 went for over 17 million, setting an all time record for the artist. (Photo by )

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • The US Marshals Service announced Thursday that it plans to auction off approximately 3,813 bitcoins, worth about $53 million, that were seized in "various federal criminal, civil, and administrative cases."
  • Potential bidders have to register before January 19, and will need to put down a cool $200,000 deposit in order to participate. The deposit must be in US dollars and transferred via ACH. The Department of Justice does not appear to accept bitcoin.
  • The coins will be auctioned off in blocks of 500, 100, and 813 — meaning the smallest amount you could potentially purchase would be 100 BTC. At Thursday's prices, that would be roughly $1.409 million, though it's not clear whether the government auction will fetch prices below or above where the cryptocurrency is trading on other exchanges.
  • Since it's not an open auction and bids are secret, winners will be notified on January 22, the agency says. 
  • The price of bitcoin was down roughly 13% last week, as many cryptocurrencies fell following reports South Korea was planning to crack down on exchanges. 

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