Ernst & Young revealed today that multiple bidders claimed 24,518 BTC (worth roughly $16m at press time) as part of a scheduled bitcoin auction that began on 20th June and ended on 21st June.
E&Y, the professional services firm that oversaw the sale, did not disclose the price paid by bidders or the number of bidders involved, though it said participants had been notified of auction outcomes.
However, given that the funds were held in a publicly available bitcoin wallet, analysis indicates that as many as three to four winners were awarded funds in the sale. (The bitcoin wallet holding the funds was first identified by bitcoin user Adam Meister on YouTube).
Data from blockchain data provider Skry shows unknown winners claimed 13,999 BTC ($9.25m), 6,517 BTC ($4.27m) and 1,999.99 BTC ($1.31m), with the largest winner claiming seven 2,000 BTC blocks as part of the auction.
At press time, at least one transaction block was unaccounted for in the transactions, with 1,999 BTC still unspent in the original wallet.
In statements, E&Y transactions partner Adam Nikitins said that the auction drew “significant interest” from participants including bitcoin exchanges, digital asset investment funds and high net worth individuals.
“The process was very competitive and demonstrates the growing appetite for digital assets such as bitcoin.”
Prior to the auction, participants indicated a willingness to enter the bidding process due to what they said has been the recent scarcity of bitcoin sellers given the sharp increases in the digital currency’s price in the weeks leading up to the event.
As previously reported, the funds were originally confiscated by the Australian government in connection with the prosecution of a Silk Road user who plead guilty to commercial drug trafficking in 2014.