- Pierre Rochard has called for U.S. Marshals to hold off from auctioning the ₿69,370 seized from a Silk Road hacker last month
- Rochard called for the authorities to retain the bitcoin as an alternative form of investment
- Such an outcome may be on the cards many years down the road, but certainly not now
Bitcoin developer and commentator Pierre Rochard has called on U.S. Marshals Service not to auction off the ₿69,370 confiscated from a Silk Road hacker last month, arguing that the haul represents a better store of value than the dollars for which they would be exchanged. Writing on his blog, Rochard asked legislators to pass a bill that would halt the auctioning off of Bitcoin seized by U.S. authorities until full legislation is passed, arguing that a “large strategic reserve of bitcoin may be crucial for our national security.”
Silk Road Bitcoin Seized Following BTCe Takedown
The ₿69,370 in question was seized from a hacker who breached Silk Road’s security sometime between May 2012 and April 2013. This hacker held onto his haul until 2015 when he sold ₿101 through BTCe, the exchange run by Alexander Vinnik, which was taken down by the FBI in 2017 and the records pored over.
The hacker was identified and tracked down and convinced to hand over the BTC in exchange for immunity from prosecution, resulting in U.S Marshals taking possession of it last month. As with all Bitcoin seizures, plans are being put in place to auction if off next year, but Rochard wants to put a stop to this.
Rochard’s Plan Is Pie in the Sky
Rochard calls the previous auctions of seized bitcoin, most notably in 2014 and 2015 when U.S. Marshals auctioned a total of ₿144,000, an error, explaining why the authorities should have kept the bitcoin:
The expeditious auctioning off of seized bitcoin was, in my view and with the benefit of hindsight, a mistake. The Federal Reserve can create an infinite quantity of US dollars, the proceeds received in the auction. Bitcoins can not be created out of thin air and there is a limited quantity of them.
From a financial point of view Rochard is correct – the cumulative value of the these auctions is now worth some $3.3 billion – but from an ideological perspective he can’t expect the government to retain the proceeds of crime for its own ends, especially if there is still uncertainty over the viability of that asset’s very format.
The day that law enforcement is swiping illegally obtained Bitcoin and holding it as a hedge to a falling dollar is the day that the entire system crumbles.