FBI Silk Road Auction of March 2015
In March 2015 the US Marshals Service (USMS) held their third auction of bitcoins connected with the FBI case against Ross Ulbricht and the first Silk Road market. Bids were submitted blindly on the 4th of March and the USMS moved the bitcoins on the 9th and 10th of March.
According to the auction announcement the funds were required to begin transfer by
According to CoinDesk the winner of the first lot paid out, to the sum of 3,000BTC, was itBit. Headquartered in New York itBit is a bitcoin exchange that also has a significant office in Singapore.
Transactions to the first winner of the auction.
Starting right after their lunch break the USMS sent a test transaction to the winning address of 50
Based on who won these bitcoins and the immediate transactions that occurred it is my theory that the deposit went straight into the itBit operational wallet. The two unspent transactions in this graph would represent a customer withdrawal and a "change address" ready for more use by the operational wallet.
Winner #2 - Unknown
It is currently unknown who won the 20K lot of bitcoins, which represents all of the series A blocks of
The USMS initiated the second winner's transaction about a half an hour after completing the first one. Again they began with a test transaction of 50mBTC and then two hours later completed the rest of the transaction. It is unclear why there was more time for this transaction, representing 14 blocks between transactions rather than the single block for the first winner. They also paid no fees to receive their bitcoin.
There is not much that can be said about this winner, other than they have exercised some excellent "privacy hygiene" when it comes to the transaction information. The address is one that has not been seen on the blockchain prior to the auction, and the only action
Winner #3 - Unannounced
The third winner of the auction exhibits some connection to the Cumberland Mining & Materials LLC of which very little is shown on their website. They have not announced their participation but it is believed by many individuals that watch the blockchain that they were the initial recipients.
The USMS initiated the transfer of the test 50 mBTC to the third winner about an hour after the last transaction, and then the USMS went home for the night. This left the bitcoin community in suspense overnight over how much the third winner would receive and wondering if there would be a fourth winner. But to their
The reason why any information is known about this winner is
However it does not appear that Cumberland kept all of the bitcoin for themselves, it appeared they were acting as a syndicate for their bid.
Within three blocks transactions for 2K BTC, 14K BTC, and 5K BTC were peeled off of the awarded amount. The remaining sum of nearly 6K BTC was short the test transaction amount and the fees paid to receive the initial sum. Because of
Nothing has been publicly stated about who the third winners were, nor who the members of the syndicate are. There is also the possibility that these are cold storage amounts for the same entity.
PSA - Don't
As an additional firewall, a new key pair should be used for each transaction to keep them from being linked to a common owner. Some linking is still unavoidable with multi-input transactions, which necessarily reveal that their inputs were owned by the same owner. The risk is that if the owner of a key is revealed, linking could reveal other transactions that belonged to the same owner.
[Section 10: Privacy, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System]
Note that for the second winner we have never seen any of their addresses before. And the only reason we know anything about the third winner, their syndicate, and what they are doing with their transactions is because of a re-used address and a tweet associating that address to an identity.
I cannot stress enough how keeping addresses as
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