Government officials have seized numerous amounts of Bitcoin over the years. In the US, the majority of coins are sold through auctions by the US Marshals. All of those auctions would be worth over $10 billion today yet sold for much less money. 

A History of US Marshals Auctions

It is interesting to look back upon Bitcoin’s history for many different reasons. One reason pertains to auctions organized by the US Marshals after seizing BTC from [alleged] criminals. Although the seizing of Bitcoin will always be controversial, over 185,000 BTC have been sold through these types of auctions. Back in the day, the amount raised through such auctions was considered “overpaid”, yet things have turned out a bit differently. 

Looking back at the first auction by the US Marshals, a total of nearly 30,000 BTC were sold for less than $19 million. Although the value per BTC was much lower back then, Tim Draper paid an equivalent of just over $600 per BTC. Considering how one Bitcoin now trades at over $560,000, it has been a very substantial investment. No one could have predicted this momentum at the time, though.


BlocDesk US Marshals Auctions
Source: Documenting Bitcoin

The same goes for all subsequent Bitcoin auctions by the US Marshals. Every time they sold Bitcoin, people would be chomping at the bit to acquire the supply. With numerous interested bidders, it quickly became apparent the demand for Bitcoin was relatively strong. Paying anywhere from $1,6 million to $42 million was seemingly ordinary.

The final US Marshals auction took place on February 1t, 2020. A total of 4,040 BTC were sold for the sum of $38 million. A steep amount per Bitcoin, yet it pales in comparison to the current price. Everyone who took part in these auctions has made a profit if they held onto their lots of BTC. An impressive statistic confirming the resilience of Bitcoin and why such auctions will have no negative price impact.

Fast Forward To Today

When one takes the data above and projects the current Bitcoin price on these US Marshals auctions, an intriguing statistic becomes apparent. Despite raising $151.44 million with these auctions, the BTC would be worth over $10.1 billion today. Had the US Marshals known this, they probably would have held on to these seized BTC a bit longer.

However, this also raises another question. No one knows how many of the people who bought BTC through these auctions are still holding on to their portfolio or what is left of it. With an average value increase of 6,600% per BTC sold through these auctions, one can only hope the speculators made the most of this opportunity. Seeing the US government miss out on nearly $10 billion will certainly please many cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

BlocDesk Bitcoin Price
Source: CoinGecko

One lesson to take away from all of this is how there is never a bad opportunity to acquire Bitcoin. Regardless of the current price, there is always a chance the future value will be much higher than what one pays today. There is no reason to take any unwarranted risks, yet passing up on an opportunity may not always be the best option either. Bitcoin is a very unique creature.