US to auction 50,000 more bitcoins from Dread Pirate Roberts

Want to be the next Dread Pirate Roberts? You can get started by buying 50,000 bitcoins once owned by Ross Ulbricht (aka the Dread Pirate), who is awaiting sentencing on a litany of charges related to his operation of the Silk Road, a defunct drug marketplace.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals Service announced that it will hold its next civil forfeiture auction on March 5 from 8a.m. to 2p.m. EST. The bitcoins will be auctioned off in 10 blocks of 2,000 bitcoins and 10 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins.

This will be the third such bitcoin auction. The first took place last June when Venture Capitalist Tim Draper bought approximately 30,000 bitcoins seized from the Silk Road, and was followed by another one in December in which a consortium of bitcoin investors bought another stash of 50,000 bitcoins once belonging to Ulbricht.

The new auction comes as the price of bitcoin has fallen precipitously. One unit of the virtual currency once commanded $1,200, but fell to around $600 when Draper won the first auction, and is now bouncing around $230.

The upcoming sale is likely to just about exhaust the U.S. Marshals’ supply of bitcoins. The government seized the currency after the FBI took down Ulbricht with an open laptop in a San Francisco library in 2013.

Ulbricht was convicted in New York this month after he failed to convince a jury that he had passed on the title of Dread Pirate Roberts to someone else — much as the moniker passed from pirate to pirate in the Princess Bride.

US Marshals’ second bitcoin auction only draws 11 bidders

The first time the U.S. Marshals auctioned off bitcoin, the price spiked six percent and Twitter lit up with rumors of who bid on the auction. This time? Barely a peep from the peanut gallery. While June’s Silk Road auction drew in 45 bidders and 63 bids, the Marshals’ office reported only 11 registered bidders and 27 bids received for the 50,000 bitcoin that were up for grabs from Dread Pirate Roberts. Meanwhile the price of a bitcoin has remained relatively flat today, hovering around $371 — much lower than the $640 a bitcoin was worth when Tim Draper won the first auction.