Of the three winners of the auction, one has been confirmed, one is completely unknown, and the identity of the third has now allegedly established but not confirmed.
The third U.S. Marshals bitcoin auction took place on March 5th. As the auction was announced in the middle of February, the service stated that it will sell off 50,000 BTC in 20 blocks of two and three thousand BTC.
The Marshals are selling bitcoins that were confiscated from Ross Ulbricht’s laptop by the FBI in 2013. This was the third auction organized by the service.
Fourteen participants were reported to have submitted their bids for the third auction. In the end, 50,000 bitcoins were split between three winners, who received 27,000 BTC, 20,000 BTC, and 3,000 BTC respectively. The bitcoin community is waiting for the winners to disclose themselves but the only one to do so has been itBit, the New York bitcoin exchange that claimed 3,000 BTC (a little less than $900,000 at the time of the auction). The two other, more significant winners chose not to reveal their identity. Only their bitcoin addresses were known.
One of these addresses has been previously mentioned on Twitter, as Reddit users discovered. The account that seems to have received 27,000 BTC is named Cumberland Mining; a website with the same name offers “solutions for bitcoiners” but does not give any additional information. Having received the money, the owners of the account split it, sending portions of 2,000 BTC, 5,000 BTC and 14,000 BTC to different addresses and leaving 6,000 in the account. According to the Crypto Crumbs blog, the speed of these transactions and the round numbers of the portions into which the prize was divided mean that Cumberland Mining probably acted as a syndicate, dividing the spoils among its members.
The news agency Qntra.net claims it has established the identity of the owner of Cumberland Mining account. His name, the news agency says, is Larry Dean Silvey and he is a real estate advisor, property manager, investor, and entrepreneur located in Tennessee, USA. They do not disclose how his identity was discovered. According to Qntra.net, they contacted Silvey before publishing the material but never heard back from him.
The winner of 20,000 BTC remains unknown. The Crypto Crumbs blog considers this case an example of “excellent privacy hygiene” and urges its readers never to reuse wallet addresses.
The U.S. Marshals have revealed that they are planning to hold the final, fourth auction this year. The former owner of the bitcoins in question, Ross Ulbricht, was found guilty of selling drugs and money laundering under the pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts, the leader of the Silk Road website, on February 4th, 2015.