US federal government to auction Bitcoin

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The US General Services Administration, responsible for auctioning excess assets in the government, plans to put a fraction of Bitcoin up for auction this month.

On March 15 to 17, the department will open the bidding platform on a 0.7501 share per Bitcoin that is equivalent to $42,188.47.

‘This auction marks the first time cryptocurrency will be made available for public sale through GSA Auctions, and it is the only piece of cryptocurrency to have fallen under the purview of the U.S. General Services Administration,’ a spokesperson of GSA told The Washington Post in an interview last March 8.

However, the administration refused to disclose information on the source of the Bitcoin, maintaining its confidentiality for privacy concerns.

‘Whether it’s a car, or a piece of jewelry, or now even cryptocurrency, you never know what kind of treasures you’ll find on GSA Auctions,’ Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeast Sunbelt Region of the GSA Kevin Kerns declared in their website.

Though this is GSA’s first attempt at auctioning Bitcoin, this practice is not new to the federal government. In 2018, the US Marshals Service sold seized Bitcoins at several auctions.

‘Governments have been routinely seizing crypto assets for many years, including and related to the collapse of Silk Road,’ Lex Sokolin, the co-head of Fintech at blockchain technology company ConsenSys also said in an interview with the Washington Post.

‘As more mainstream activity moves to crypto networks, such revelations will be less sensational and [become] just a regular part of economic activity,’ he added.

The past few months have seen many large institutions showing renewed interest in cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin. Research associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies Angela Walch stated that the government’s financial sector has begun exploring digital assets as numerous companies like Square Inc., Tesla and MicroStrategy invest in crypto.

‘This has happened alongside continued crumbling of political and social institutions, with the January 6 attack on the Capitol, a second impeachment trial, the lack of a shared set of facts between citizens of the U.S. regarding the pandemic and elections, and massive failures of government and infrastructure during the Texas winter storm,’ she told the Washington Post.

‘All of these events highlight bitcoin’s use as a sort of fallout shelter from the world falling apart.’

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