U.S. to sell off seized bitcoin

The U.S. government has been given the OK to sell a very limited number of bitcoin.

A federal judge in Utah this week allowed $9.9 million worth of the digital currency, seized from an accused jailed drug dealer, to be transferred to a government “wallet.” The 513 bitcoins, and 512 of a variant called Bitcoin Cash, were seized from Aaron Shamo, the alleged ringleader of a gang that sold counterfeit pharmaceuticals made from illicit Chinese fentanyl.

Camera icon Weber County Sheriffs Office
Aaron Shamo, 27, is charged with running a multimillion-dollar opioid drug ring out of a suburban Salt Lake City basement.

U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball agreed to a U.S. Attorney’s request for the assets to be disposed of quickly “due to the volatile market in cryptocurrencies.”  The bitcoin will be sold in lots of 50 coins through an unspecified exchange that trades the digital currencies. The proceeds will go to the Office for Asset Forfeiture, according to government documents.

A single bitcoin on Friday afternoon was trading for about $17,525. Bitcoin Cash, a variant created on Aug. 1, was selling for about $1,770.