US Marshal Services hoarding digital coins worth millions of USD?

Bitcoins have become a powerful trading asset, currently worth over $10,000. It has attracted all kinds of investors from all over the world. Unsurprisingly, it has also caught the attention of criminals, who exploit its decentralized and relatively anonymous nature for their own benefits.
Originally launched in 2009, bitcoin (BTC) has become a widely acquired cryptocurrency today. The coin was initially valued at less than a cent and has risen today to around $10,000. Bitcoin has many celebrities and other prominent personalities who are continuously supporting the coin. Interestingly, its decentralized nature has gained it popularity among another group too: criminals.

Like other cryptocurrencies, bitcoin is not regulated by a central authority and is based on the distributed ledger technology. Therefore, BTC transactions are ideal for anyone who wishes to maintain considerable levels of anonymity. Bitcoin is thus widely used in criminal activities, especially in the US.

In the US, bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency confiscated from criminals becomes property of the Justice Department. Research reveals that at least $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies has spent time in the US government’s hands.

Just like other illegally acquired goods, these digital treasures are also simply auctioned off. More particularly, it is the job of the US Marshals to sell confiscated bitcoins or other digital currencies. The marshals have conducted various bitcoin auctions to date.

For instance, they auctioned off about 175,000 bitcoins in four sessions between June 2014 and November 2015. The reason for conducting four auctions was the enormity of the stash. These coins, making up 2% of all the bitcoins in circulation at that time, belonged to the Silk Road hoard.

Silk Road was an online black market for drugs that only accepted payments in the form of bitcoin. It was shut down by the FBI in 2013. At that time, the coins were sold at $379 on average. Bitcoin has made tremendous progress since then. In an auction held just last month, each bitcoin was sold for about $11,800.

It seems now that the system is somewhat losing its efficiency, especially in terms of keeping up public records. Authorities claim that noting down the exact date of forfeit and sell-off would be equivalent to revealing their operations. Interestingly, records unveil several instances when the seizure of a crypto-stash was recorded but there was no record of its sale.

The reason as to why these assets are being hoarded remains unknown. Allegations have been made that they are used for personal luxuries by the marshals. Since there is no proof to support this allegation, it can’t be declared true. Whatever the reason might be, one thing is certain: there lies millions of dollars worth of digital assets in the hands of the US government.