In a magnificent show of technical ineptitude, today the U.S. Marshals revealed the identities of many anonymous bidders in its $18 million seized Silk Road Bitcoin auction by CC’ing them on an email thread. When one asked a question, the response was sent to 40 of the bidders, many whose names were attached or easily identifiable from their addresses, negating the whole point of the auction being anonymous. Smooth, government.
These 40 bidders now know each other’s identities, so they may leak. Here’s the email a source sent us from the U.S. Marshals’ Bitcoins Department Of Justice email account to the bidders, but as we’re honorable chaps at TechCrunch, we’ve blotted out the names:
The government seized 29,656.51306529 bitcoin last fall when it raided digital black market Silk Road, which was known to facilitate sales of hard drugs, weapons and more. At today’s market price, the stash is worth $18.08 million. Compared to bitcoin’s current market cap of $7.87 billion, the sum is minor. But, the government, as TechCrunch previously reported, is now in the business of selling the cryptocurrency, albeit temporarily.
$18 million worth of bitcoin amounts to about 85 percent of the last 24 hours worth of trading. The auction drew interest, as it would allow someone to quickly pick up a bunch of bitcoin at once at a fixed price, rather than do a bunch of small deals where the price could rise in between. There’s also the potential for a slight discount on the market price.
We can only hope this gaffe led to a zany chain of emails between the bidders over who had bought the craziest things with their magical Internet money.