The financial services firm has announced it successfully sold $16 mln worth of confiscated cryptocurrency. It is claimed to be the first bitcoin auction in Australia and the second in the world.
According to Mashable, the bitcoins in question were seized by Victorian police in 2013, after a man called Richard Pollard was arrested for dealing drugs online and plead guilty to commercial trafficking. The police discovered that he had three electronic wallets with 24,518 bitcoins. The authorities decided to auction off the lot and add the proceeds to the state's consolidated revenue.
The closed international auction ended on 21 June. The total amount of bitcoins was worth around 22 mln AUD (16 mln USD) split into 11 lots of 2,000 BTC each and one extended lot of 2,518 BTC. Each lot was worth more than 1 mln AUD, however, bidders could have paid less. The revenue from the auction is not disclosed, as well as the participants’ identities. To take part in the auction, the bidders had to provide a deposit of $250,000 and respond to other financial requirements. According to blockchain data provider Skry, some unknown winners claimed 13,999 bitcoins ($9.25m), 6,517 bitcoins ($4.27m) and 1,999.99 bitcoins ($1.31m), and the largest winner claimed seven 2,000 BTC lots.
Despite the rising bitcoin price, the auction turned out a success. Ernst and Young transactions partner Adam Nikitins informed that the auction drew close attention of “Bitcoin exchanges, digital asset investment funds and high net worth individuals.”
According to his statement,
“The process was very competitive and demonstrates the growing appetite for digital assets such as bitcoin. The value of bitcoin increased significantly over the past month, however bidding remained strong.”
The first bitcoin auction in history took part in November 2015, when the U.S. Marshals sold off approximately 44,341 bitcoins seized from Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht who was given a life sentence on 29 May 2015, for his involvement with illegal drug trade and other criminal activities.