Had a couple of millions lying around? Australia recently had an offer you might’ve found hard to refuse.
In early June, we reported that the Australian government is planning to auction 24,518 confiscated bitcoins worth about AU$16 million (US$11.49 million) at the time.
Now, Ernst and Young announced it has successfully sold all of the bitcoins, which are now worth around AU$22 million (US$16 million) by current value. The financial services group did not disclose the price paid by the bidders or the number of bidders involved, only noting that the auction attracted interest from “bitcoin exchanges, digital asset investment funds and high net worth individuals.”
Analysts, however, believed that “as many as three to four winners” were awarded during the sale that ended last June 21. Data from blockchain data provider Skry indicated the largest winner claimed seven 2,000 bitcoin blocks during the auction, while the other winners claimed 13,999 bitcoins (US$9.25 million), 6,517 bitcoins (US$4.27 million) and 1,999.99 bitcoins (US$1.31 million), according to a Coin Desk report.
Adam Nikitins, transactions partner at Ernst and Young, said: “The process was very competitive and demonstrates the growing appetite for digital assets such as bitcoin. The value of bitcoin increased significantly over the past month, however bidding remained strong.”
The auctioned digital coins, which were “confiscated as proceeds of crime,” were believed to be from an Australian man who was convicted of commercial drug trafficking charges in 2014.
Proceeds from the auction will be going to the state of Victoria’s consolidated revenue, according to several media outlets.
The auction has caught the eye of many parties who were willing to enter the bidding process amid the sharp increases in the digital currency’s price—even reaching the US$700 threshold—in the days leading to the event.
Current bitcoin price and transaction volume
Bitcoin has been in a slump recently, thanks to several factors (we’re looking at you Brexit). On Wednesday, the price of the popular digital currency dropped to US$631.12, with more than 15.71 million bitcoins in circulation.