The U.S. Marshals Service is going ahead with an auction of $18 million in bitcoins even though it inadvertently leaked the identities of potential bidders.
"The auction is proceeding as planned," a spokeswoman for the service wrote in an email early Friday following revelations that the service had leaked the email addresses of people interested in the auction. It remains set for June 27.
The addresses of the potential bidders were mistakenly copied to recipients of an email sent Wednesday with information about the auction, the Marshals Service said.
"The message was intended to blind copy everyone with an attached document that contained frequently asked questions and answers on the subject," spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue had said in a statement.
"The message was not intended for any particular group of people, but for anyone who had emailed a question to the general mailbox to ask about the auction. A Only recipient email addresses were disclosed."
About 40 bidders qualified, and the Marshals Service tried to send each bidder an informational email. Instead, the bidders found out who everyone was. A statement from the government read:
“One of the emails that we sent out this morning inadvertently showed a list of some of the individuals who have asked a question or questions about the pending Bitcoin auction. We apologize for the error.”
About 30,000 bitcoins divided into 10 blocks will be up for grabs for a 12-hour period on June 27.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the coins from servers belonging to Silk Road, a site that served as an underground market for drugs and other illegal goods.
The Marshals Service would not confirm any names that were revealed in the leak below.
Potential bidders include figures such as Barry Silbert, CEO of SecondMarket, which is organizing a syndicate for the auction, and Luther Lowe, director of public policy for Yelp.
The names include SecondMarket and the Bitcoin Investment Trust, Pantera Capital, and Binary Financial.
SecondMarket and the Bitcoin Investment Trust are inviting participants to join in the auction.
“SecondMarket and the Bitcoin Investment Trust expect to participate in the auction and will allow others to submit bids for aggregation in the process,” a signup page reads. Anyone interested in participating can sign up here by June 20.
Finally, Pantera Capital has been more mum about its participation, noting that only investors are interested in the auction.
Other bidders will participate in the auction beside those organizations listed above, though. Most of those bidders remain either unknown or at least unconfirmed at this point (which was the whole idea to begin with, but that ship has already sailed).
CoinDesk reports the following people were on that “Reply All” list:
Daniel Folkinshteyn, assistant professor at Rowan University
Luther Lowe, director of public policy for Yelp
Malcolm Oluwasanmi, chairperson of Little Phoenix Investment Group
Fabrice Evangelista, quantitative arbitrage at BNP Paribas
Michal Handerhanm, co-founder and COO of Bitcoin Shop
Dave Goel, managing general partner of Matrix Capital Management
Dinuka Samarasinghe, investment professional
Chris DeMuth Jr., Rangeley Capital
Fred Ehrsam, co-founder, Coinbase
Jonathan Disner, corporate counsel at DRW Trading Group
William Brindise, head investment manager at DigitalBTC
Jennifer R. Jacoby, lawyer at WilmerHale
Sam Lee, co-founder, Bitcoins Reserve
Shem Booth-Spain, artist and musician