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US Marshals Accidentally Reveal Potential Bidders For Gov't-Seized Bitcoin

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Bitcoin 101

jfruh (300774) writes "When the U.S. government shut down the Silk Road marketplace, they seized its assets, including roughly $18 million in bitcoin, and despite the government's ambivalence about the cryptocurrency, they plan to auction the bitcoin off to the highest bidder, as they do with most criminal assets. Ironically, considering many bitcoin users' intense desire for privacy, the U.S. Marshall service accidentally revealed the complete list of potential bidders by sending a message to everyone on the list and putting their addresses in the CC field instead of the BCC field."

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Lol (0)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 3 months ago | (#47287141)

Lelelelel
Much infosec fail.

Re:Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287213)

OMG LMFAO! So fail! WOW!

Re:Lol (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287287)

Main screen turn on. What you say! Someone set up us the doge. Take off every zig.

A planned failure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287305)

If you think that the leak is a failure, well, it's a PLANNED FAILURE

The Fed doesn't like bitcoins, feels very threaten by bitcoins, and hope that nobody will deal in bitcoins

With the sale of those bitcoins of course they will execute a planned failure that will look to the world at large as a "leak"

It is never a leak, it is a PLANNED LEAK

Re:A planned failure (3, Insightful)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#47287333)

If you think that the leak is a failure, well, it's a PLANNED FAILURE

The Fed doesn't like bitcoins, feels very threaten by bitcoins, and hope that nobody will deal in bitcoins

With the sale of those bitcoins of course they will execute a planned failure that will look to the world at large as a "leak"

It is never a leak, it is a PLANNED LEAK

I'm not so sure. I'm thinking that Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] should be applied here.

Unplanned failure (2)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 3 months ago | (#47288063)

Don't ascribe to malice what can be attributed to incompetence. Or maybe a variant thereof. Who knows, maybe people have become so used to social media, that secrecy becomes an afterthought. Maybe the person in charge thought email is just the pre-Facebook version of posting a status update?

Suggestion for three-letter agency recruiters: screen for applicants who aren't Facebook/Twitter/Instagram addicts.

Re:A planned failure (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 3 months ago | (#47288207)

Hmm, incompetence or malice?

Why not both?

Re:A planned failure (1)

mikes.song (830361) | about 3 months ago | (#47289057)

I'm not so sure. I'm thinking that Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] should be applied here.

The corollary? Nothing is provable; everything is permissible.

Your adage is one of a pushover. You are a sucker, and you promote being one.

Re:A planned failure (0)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#47289797)

I'm not so sure. I'm thinking that Hanlon's Razor [wikipedia.org] should be applied here.

The corollary? Nothing is provable; everything is permissible. Your adage is one of a pushover. You are a sucker, and you promote being one.

Are we having a bad day? Did mommy make you leave the basement or clean your room?

Your statement may be a corollary to something, but not Hanlon's Razor. Given the rest of your blather, I attribute your poorly written and rather emotional post to both stupidity *and* malice.

My name isn't Hanlon, and it;'s not my adage.

I'm sorry you're dumb. I'm sorry you're angry. I feel pity for you. At the same time, you're still an asshole, which is certainly provable (you did that yourself) and while I do support free speech, I imagine you'd be less of a fucktard if we were having this conversation in person.

Oops. I guess you disproved your own bullshit.

Have a great day!

Re:A planned failure (1)

umdesch4 (3036737) | about 3 months ago | (#47289547)

Hanlon's Razor is a useful tool...but it cuts both ways. I use it sometimes myself. "Whoops, I didn't realize I was logged into production when I deployed that critical bug fix that isn't scheduled to go until next week! Oh well, at least we won't get called on the weekend about the error that was prematurely fixed..."

Re:A planned failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47293823)

Not to worry. They'll lose the email and shred the drive in a couple of months.

Re:A planned failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287479)

Yep. There are no accidents in politics.

Re:A planned failure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287585)

If you think any govt feels threatened by a LOLbertarian idiot toy, you are an even bigger moron.

Re:A planned failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287659)

If you think that the leak is a failure, well, it's a PLANNED FAILURE

The Fed doesn't like bitcoins, feels very threaten by bitcoins, and hope that nobody will deal in bitcoins

With the sale of those bitcoins of course they will execute a planned failure that will look to the world at large as a "leak"

It is never a leak, it is a PLANNED LEAK

And the printing of billions of dollars every month in a pathetic attempt to keep the dollar stable is such a confidence booster.

And I'm sure the "Fed" does feel threatened. Lots of printing press jobs there. Lots.

Re:A planned failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287785)

If you think that the leak is a failure, well, it's a PLANNED FAILURE

The Fed doesn't like bitcoins, feels very threaten by bitcoins, and hope that nobody will deal in bitcoins

With the sale of those bitcoins of course they will execute a planned failure that will look to the world at large as a "leak"

It is never a leak, it is a PLANNED LEAK

loony. Seek help.

Re:A planned failure (2)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47288689)

Doubtful. Despite the overinflated sense of self importance some people in the BTC community have, the federal government does not care all that much, They just want BTC trading to follow the same rules as other commodities, that is pretty much it.

Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47295413)

So funni!
clik to c the pic

This is what happens (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 3 months ago | (#47287157)

This is what happens when you have a single point of failure like a stupid, technically illiterate secretary added to the mix.

Re:This is what happens (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47287159)

Like, secretary as in the one that takes dictation, or secretary as in the one that is in charge of a large arm of government bureaucracy?

Re:This is what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287189)

Good point.

Re:This is what happens (5, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 3 months ago | (#47287197)

Hacker: Who else is in this department?
Sir Humphrey: Well briefly, sir, I am the Permanent Under Secretary of State, known as the Permanent Secretary. Woolley here is your Principal Private Secretary. I too have a Principal Private Secretary and he is the Principal Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary. Directly responsible to me are ten Deputy Secretaries, 87 Under Secretaries and 219 Assistant Secretaries. Directly responsible to the Principal Private Secretaries are plain Private Secretaries, and the Prime Minister will be appointing two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries and you will be appointing your own Parliamentary Private Secretary.
Hacker: Can they all type?
Sir Humphrey: None of us can type. Mrs Mackay types: she's the secretary.

Re:This is what happens (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 months ago | (#47287347)

Like, secretary as in the one that takes dictation, or secretary as in the one that is in charge of a large arm of government bureaucracy?

Yes.

Re:This is what happens (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287467)

Please go gently fuck yourself, that shit was never witty or funny.

Re:This is what happens (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 3 months ago | (#47289755)

Like, secretary as in the one that takes dictation, or secretary as in the one that is in charge of a large arm of government bureaucracy?

Or even the entire country [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This is what happens (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287303)

But... but.. a sectetary is exactly the right person to trust with a secret.
"Secretary - late Middle English (originally in the sense ‘person entrusted with a secret’): from late Latin secretarius ‘confidential officer’, from Latin secretum ‘secret’, neuter of secretus"

Re:This is what happens (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47287773)

That's a fairly massive assumption. Even competent people make mistakes.

Re:This is what happens (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47288069)

This is what happens when you have a single point of failure

There was not a single point of failure. If the bidders used email addresses that could be traced to their real identities, that was another point of failure.

Re:This is what happens (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 months ago | (#47288319)

That would be an administrative assistant you insensitive mad men clod!

Re:This is what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47288445)

Yeah because making a mistake=stupid.

Cast that stone, wise one who is without error.

Re:This is what happens (3, Interesting)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 3 months ago | (#47289219)

This is what happens when you have a single point of failure like a stupid, technically illiterate secretary added to the mix.

Misogyny much? Secretaries are usually well versed in things like email, since it's a major part of their job. Managers are the ones who think they know everything, and make these kinds of mistakes.

Re:This is what happens (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 months ago | (#47289821)

Misogyny? You are the one that sexistly just implied that all secretaries are women. That makes you the pot calling the kettle misogynist.

Re:This is what happens (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 3 months ago | (#47293949)

"Secretaries are usually well versed in things like email"

I don't really consider email proficiency to be a thing sorry.

Close enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287175)

...for gubbermint work

Hahahahahahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287177)

No, wait... Bahahahahahahahahahahaha

Or using a proper list manager (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 3 months ago | (#47287183)

ezmlm works fine for me.

Qmail and EZMLM are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287243)

DJB writes great concept code, but not really good supportable practical code. Because of that qmail which used to be the number one MTA has fallen from that perch. EZMLM works with qmail and it suffers from the same fate. There are various alternatives but not to get offtopic.

The US Marshal's Service, like the rest of the polluted fat beaurocratic obsolete US Government users have Windows on their desktop. Nobody created a list for the simple reason that this was a one-time operation. So whomever was using Windows (likely with Outlook) just typed the names in. CC, BCC, they don't even know what CC or BCC means let alone what a "carbon copy" is.

Hanlon's Law: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Mark

Re:Qmail and EZMLM are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287263)

You don't have to be smart about a lot of things to be a cop, just cop things.

Re:Qmail and EZMLM are obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47290733)

That's not a requirement anymore. Haven't been in a long time.

Ya Right (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47287211)

So who would stan to gain from such an event occuring?

Re:Ya Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287261)

Putin, Obama, Reputurds to abuse Obama, NSA, Chinese mafia or any freely chosen criminal organisation.

Ya Right (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47287293)

In theory you know of all interested people and know they now know of each other.
Bait (with coin sale), catch looking for each others coins, release as informants.

Re:Ya Right (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47289893)

My thoughts were more pedestrian, nothing sinister, my thinking is that some one wants a few more dollars by hyping the sale; maybe? But then again never substitue malice when simple stupidity makes sense.

Re:Ya Right (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47290745)

Its a bit like the Nixon White House tapes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] and a ~18 min gap was a "a terrible mistake" by a staff member using the stop button vs record button. Mistakes happen but at that level of US gov - you would see a lot more over a wider more random set of everyday tasks. The very public error seemed to be worth it for some aspect of bitcoin?

Re:Ya Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47297415)

Actually to be more current it's like the IRS deleting incriminating tapes, and then claiming they lost them.

Real private (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287253)

"considering many bitcoin users' intense desire for privacy".
considering how ISPs are required by law to keep years worth of logs from most connections, to say nothing of governments making their own lists; And every bitcoin since it's inception has its complete transaction history for it 'forever', bitcoin would seem to me to be one of the least private forms of currency. CASH PLEASE.

On the plus side, I suppose, if ever the law does start supporting bitcoin or similar, stolen bitcoins could easily be blacklisted(blocked from legitimate transactions) and or when intercepted potentially returned to the original 'owner'.

ohhhhhhh crap (4, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#47287255)

I once compared the bitcoin forums to Tartuga from Pirates of the Caribbean. Everyone agreed. Everyone scams everyone, nobody follows the laws, and you have to be smart to not get burned. Those are the people bidding on these. The last thing you want to do is expose their contact info to each other. They just started World War III in the bitcoin world. Close up your storm shutters because there's a shitstorm blowing in.

Re:ohhhhhhh crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287631)

They just started World War III in the bitcoin world.

Look at all the people who care.

LOOK QUICKLY OR YOU WILL MISS THEM.

Spoils of war. (5, Insightful)

tragedy (27079) | about 3 months ago | (#47287301)

Am I the only one who gets disturbed every time it's blithely mentioned that this or that police agency gets to take spoils for themselves? It seems a little... inherently corrupt.

Re:Spoils of war. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#47287499)

well yeah kind of since is this the only really legal sale of bitcoins in USA? there's some reason for why the exchanges avoid it.

Re:Spoils of war. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287661)

No you are not the only one.
Of course is is corrupting.
The politicians that can change it cannot appear soft on crime.

Re:Spoils of war. (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 3 months ago | (#47289197)

How would it look soft on crime to suggest that the 'winnings' should go to some higher governmental branch rather than straight to the police agency?

The only ones this might annoy would be the police themselves. It wouldn't take a PR genius to point out that the current system encourages the police to screw up their priorities.

Re:Spoils of war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47289301)

How would it look soft on crime to suggest that the 'winnings' should go to some higher governmental branch rather than straight to the police agency?

It would look like a way to get the higher governmental branch to lean real hard on the police to keep seizing assets. It would be at least as bad.

Re:Spoils of war. (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 3 months ago | (#47289855)

No. The forces at play would be massively diluted, so the issue would be lessened enormously.

To higher government, the money raised in these auctions is just spare change.

Incidentally, this is precisely how things are done in the UK [findlaw.co.uk] . The proceeds of traffic tickets are handled similarly.

Re:Spoils of war. (3, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 months ago | (#47288333)

Due Process is going out the window. That also includes defending yourself with the lawyer you choose. Recently the SCOTUS ruled amazingly enough that it was okay for the government to even seize assets that were in your lawyers hands to pay for legal fees. [washingtonpost.com] So now the system is rigged against you to the point where the Judge and the prosecution pick your lawyer for you. Good by freedom, hello club Fed.

Re:Spoils of war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47290769)

Although in this case, as I understand it, no-one is willing to claim these bitcoins. Quite possibly because the bitcoin wallet they came from is linked to serious criminal activity and it would be tantamount to confessing to those crimes. It supposedly belongs to Dread Pirate Roberts but the guy who has been arrested and is said to be DPR, claims not to be.

So if no-one wants to claim ownership of these bitcoins then why not sell them? Though seizing assets that would be used by the defendant to pay legal fees is reprehensible.

Re:Spoils of war. (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 3 months ago | (#47293449)

Good point. That would almost be reasonable, if the proceeds weren't going to the police doing the seizing. If the system were set up so that the proceeds went, for example, into paying back social security, or to pay for services or toys or whatever for orphans... For that matter, if there were just some laws preventing police officers from profiting directly from seized property (no more bonuses to officers, no more first pick of auctioned property, etc.), the situation might be improved. The fact is, found, unclaimed and unowned property shouldn't belong to the police, collectively or individually. If anyone, it should belong to the public. The entire history of laws allowing bounty and spoils for public officials is nothing but a history of corruption. From firefighters burning down houses to judges sentencing innocent people to death for witchcraft. This sort of thing shows that, whatever illusions we may have of living in a more civilized age, we really don't.

Re:Spoils of war. (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 3 months ago | (#47294047)

Nope, you're not alone.

http://fear.org/ [fear.org]

Auctioning money? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47287375)

I don't get it, why are they auctioning money? Why don't they just exchange them for USD? They will necessarily get less than the market value for them, because nobody would buy money for more than it's worth...

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47287401)

Because Bitcoins is not money.

Re:Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287407)

And neither are 6 1/4 x 2 3/4 strips of colourful cotton paper mix no matter what you print on them.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47287427)

It is because Governments say it is and most people agree it is.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 3 months ago | (#47288225)

I see you don't know the difference between money and currency.

You will know the difference one day. It will hit you in an instant, but it will be too late.

Re: Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47292737)

On the other hand youll be prepared because youve managed to side step usd for all your current and future needs.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 3 months ago | (#47287527)

Many video games also have some sort of gold coins. Can they be considered as money too? Bitcoins are mainly used for transferring money from one location to another using computer networks. So it's just an internet version of a credit card company. If so, why should be worth tens of billions of dollars?

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47288029)

If so, why should be worth tens of billions of dollars?

For the same reason gold served as money for thousands of years; for the same reason you let your employer (via the bank) pay you in 6.25x2.75 strips of colorful paper; for the same reason you carry a credit card; for the same reason some pacific island cultures collected cowrie shells: Because someone will give you tens of billions of dollars (actually more like half a trillion total market cap, BTW) in goods and/or services in exchange for them. Simple as that.

Now, if you want to get into the semantics of (commodity)money-vs-(fiat)currency-vs-specie, we can certainly split hairs here (to no real benefit for either of us beyond showing off our Google-foo). But in the most general meaning of the term, any reasonably fungible and liquid token of value counts as "money" as long as you can find someone who will accept it as payment.

And in that sense, I can readily spend BTC across the globe in exchange for just about anything. With a number of major online retailers now taking it, taxes and your local mom-n'-pop count as just about the only thing you can't use Bitcoin for.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 3 months ago | (#47288219)

For the same reason gold served as money for thousands of years;

Gold has intrinsic value. Does bitcoin have any? No.

for the same reason you let your employer (via the bank) pay you in 6.25x2.75 strips of colorful paper;

Real money is guaranteed by the govt. If bitcoin can be considered valid currency, anybody else should be able to create their own currency.

or the same reason you carry a credit card;

Credit card companies don't manufacture currency, they just transfer it. Bitcoins are manufactured in transactions.

Re:Auctioning money? (2)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about 3 months ago | (#47288547)

> Gold has intrinsic value. Does bitcoin have any? No.

Gold has value because of its physical properties, scarcity, and attractiveness. The Bitcoin Network has value because of the ability to move funds from place to place, just like the UPS network has value for the ability to move packages from place to pace. Gold's source of value isn't better than other sources of value, just different. All value derives from people wanting or needing something, and the supply in relation to demand. Demand for the "bitcoin" token, which is an accounting unit within the Bitcoin Network, derives from the usefulness of the Network. Since the tokens are scarce goods, their exchange value is set by supply and demand. This is similar to how UPS shipping labels acquire value as part of the UPS network. The labels don't have value by themselves, they are just sticky paper with printing on them.

> Real money is guaranteed by the govt. If bitcoin can be considered valid currency, anybody else should be able to create their own currency.

Fiat currency is guaranteed to lose value relative to other goods through overproduction. Fiat means "let it be so", its a government imposed requirement that it be accepted for certain purposes. There are no other guarantees about it. You should read up on private bank notes prior to the Federal Reserve and private currencies since then. People do create currencies all the time, all it takes is enough acceptance in trade for other goods. Look up cigarettes in prisons, Tide detergent in buying drugs, and local currencies used particular towns. In terms of digital currencies like Bitcoin, there are hundreds of alternates, although Bitcoin has over 90% of the total market. It was the first and has the widest acceptance - dozens of exchanges where you can trade them for other currencies, and over 60,000 merchants where you can spend them.

> Credit card companies don't manufacture currency, they just transfer it. Bitcoins are manufactured in transactions.

Banks do in fact manufacture money supply when they make loans, look up "fractional reserve banking". They can then trade some of that money supply for circulating notes and coins (ie paper money). How much is based on customer demand. In the US about 12% of the money supply exists as physical notes and coins. The rest only exists as entries in computerized ledgers *just like bitcoin*. The bitcoin accounting tokens are generated by the accountants (miners) who verify blocks of transactions. They have to be originally distributed somehow, and the chosen method is payment for work done. But this is just an initial distribution situation. Once generated, coins or fractions thereof only move from person to person, and in a few years most of the bitcoins will have been generated, since the distribution algorithm provides half the remaining coins every 4 years, to a max of 21 million total.

Re:Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287557)

With the right colors, it's exactly money.
Have you been trying to smoke them or something instead of spend them, some of those inks arent good for you.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47288047)

With the right colors, it's exactly money.

The secret service would like a word with you...

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

Stardner (3660081) | about 3 months ago | (#47289947)

And yet people are so quick to offload their BTC for it. These coins are being auctioned because because nobody is going to pay "market value" for the entirety of it. In other words, nobody who actually has money values Bitcoin as an equal. Any perceived value is in the potential to sell it to someone else for even more real money. This is the problem with currency that has not gone through a stage of backing with something of value—it is a currency backed by currency.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47287441)

Fine, but that doesn't change my basic point. Why bother with an auction that will necessarily get less than an open market?

Re:Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287495)

I believe the intention is a honeypot to find out who is interested in these black markets; and at the same time to also make a show of the government displaying it is not worth anything.

The first is already accomplished just with this list, the second is entirely misguided as now they have big spenders commited and interested in a new market they would have otherwise ignored.

Re:Auctioning money? (3, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | about 3 months ago | (#47287513)

Fine, but that doesn't change my basic point. Why bother with an auction that will necessarily get less than an open market?

The same reason you wholesale anything; You get a transaction that moves a large volume quickly. Basically all consumer goods you buy in any kind of branded store works this way, Wholesalers, whether manufacturers or a middleman, sell large volume to companies who then take the burden of distribution but reap the benefits of charging retail price and profiting on the difference between that and the wholesale cost plus infrastructure/logistics costs. The wholesaler gets the benefit of moving a large volume at an agreed upon price and not having to worry about inventory control, distribution, or logistics of getting it to the consumer.

This is not strange, or even strange at all. Side benefit in this case, they get the auction entry fee from everyone bidding regardless of whether they win and also a look into who is interested in amassing a large quantity of bitcoins.

Honestly this shouldn't require explanation,

Re:Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47291003)

This is not strange, or even strange at all.

It is very strange for pretty much any electronic media. No electronic media has significant distribution costs. They might have significant marketing costs (and that only if you have me-too product) but that's not what they're talking about here. Just put up lots in whatever quantity you like in Ebay auctions or equivalent. Done.

By using any other form of distribution all you're doing is paying a lot of parasitic middlemen way over the odds. Particularly for a product like bitcoins which is apparently pretty liquid and can be on-sold easily.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 3 months ago | (#47287525)

Maybe because by actually converting the currency to money, they're sending the message that they accept it as real money and will use it. It gives a aire of legitimacy to it they don't want to impart. But selling it is simply offering it and taking what they can get. It doesn't say that they think it's worth anything, just that the bidders do. Kind of like if I took a dirty sock and auctioned it. I can say I believe it to be trash all I want then. If someone pays me $10 for it, it doesn't mean it's really worth $10. It just means someone out there is stupid enough to pay $10 real dollars for it, like any other piece of virtual property.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47287635)

With a few exceptions like stocks (which are sold on the open market, since it's very established and liquid), law enforcement sells things by auction. In some jurisdictions they're required by law to sell things at public auction with a certain notice period, because it's considered more transparent. So if they seized 100 bikes this month, they sell them at the monthly police auction, rather than trying to find a used-bike shop to sell them to.

Re:Auctioning money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287721)

Mod parent up.

GP:

exchange them for USD

And who will supply the USD?

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47287449)

Why don't they just exchange them for USD?

Unless there's some well organized exchange, as for stocks and bonds, the U.S. Marshals Service sells everything by auction. No Bitcoin exchange is solid enough for a transaction of this size.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47287633)

Law..

There have been problems in the past with government agencies pricing things low and employees snatching it up before the public was able to. So laws require most thing being sold to other than another government agency to be sold at public auction.

Re:Auctioning money? (1)

camg188 (932324) | about 3 months ago | (#47289063)

Entropy. That's the way they've always done it.
You're asking a government bureaucrat to learn how to exchange bitcoin, give them $18 million worth and expect them not to get ripped off? Auction it.

mod do3N (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287457)

obsessed - give 'Yes' to any keep, and I won't Visions going I don't want to Itself backwards, AMERICA) is the NON NIGGER PATRONS to survive at all Have an IRC cl1ent Talk to one of the host what the house that the project of OpenBSD versus cycle; take a of reality. Keep duty to be a big Profits without it a break, if don't feel that on slashdot.org butts are exposed by simple fucking Parts of you Are and other party do, or indeed what Who sell another 'first post' Are inherently create, manufacture rapid, declined in market

figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287487)

dudes been good at a lot of crap lately, ask about the river trip special.

TOP KEK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287619)

What a FUCKING surprise. This is what we vote for, idiots.

How stupid! (0)

AndyKron (937105) | about 3 months ago | (#47287691)

I don't think it was an accident. How stupid!

Violated the Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47287735)

Revealing bidder identities is against the Law - a Felony actually.

Let's see how long it takes for someone to be held accountable! Hahahahahahahahaaaaahaahaahah!

Extra effort to hide stingray, BCC too hard? (2)

swb (14022) | about 3 months ago | (#47287769)

So they can go out of their way to try and stifle information on stingrays, but they can't make the BCC field work?

Are the Marshalls my relatives? (0)

reboot246 (623534) | about 3 months ago | (#47287819)

Because my relatives always use CC instead of BCC, especially when they're forwarding some lame-ass joke to me. There are dozens of recipients!

Re:Are the Marshalls my relatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47291779)

Mine the recipient list? Since you've already warned your relatives, you might as well put the information to good use.

what's the difference? (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 3 months ago | (#47287961)

All us /.-ers, being highly experienced software jocks, know perfectly well that anything sent in an email might as well be posted up in Times Square. It might have made it a bit more difficult for the bidders to find out the names of the other bidders, but even if each one were sent a separate, one-address, email, the info is on servers all over the place (insert lame joke about asking the NSA for the other bidders' emails).

These are the people...? (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 3 months ago | (#47288077)

And these are the people we want to trust making decisions about our healthcare?

Re:These are the people...? (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 months ago | (#47288295)

Actually no, these are the idiots who come and seize your property with little suspicion or on the orders of the jackbooted thugs who want your stuff and sell it off without due process. They're the ones what to make your decisions on everything, to make sure that big brother is watching you and taking all of your hard fought earnings all in the name of social justice where your individuality doesn't matter but the collective good does. Of course by collective good that means you don't keep anything you earn.

Not Suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47288095)

I'll be in the minority and say I don't see a problem with this. The Government doesn't see it as currency and simply as another asset to sell off. They treat it no different then if they seized a boat. It goes up for auction and it doesn't matter if the bidders know each other. The IT crowd has an uproar because we understand it's intended use and feel like this method defeats part of it's intended purpose but that's because we see it as currency. The government chooses not to and thus treats it no different then a large batch of boats, cups, pens, whatever.

Re: Not Suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47288919)

I think everyone is worried that the 20 bidder applicants may all be Mexican drug cartels and now that they all know each other's email addresses they can schedule a MeetUp and boom, World War 3.

Whoosh.

At least it won't be... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 months ago | (#47288287)

At least it won't be a silent auction then because you'll know your competition.

What is the standard? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47288703)

Since I have never been involved in government auctions and I am not seeing anyone comment, what is the standard here? Is there an expectation of privacy? I have never heard of these auctions billed as being anonymous before. So are we basically talking about little more then a minor social mistake?

Never attribute ... (1)

Rocky Mudbutt (22622) | about 3 months ago | (#47289461)

Here is a textbook case of applying the Capability Immaturity Model [wikipedia.org] . My suspicion is the US Marshals Service [usmarshals.gov] is Level 0, but for the paranoid among us, Level -2 seems reasonable.
According to CMU-SEI data, over 70% of all software organizations are at Level 1 (Chaotic) of the Capability Maturity Model. In reality many may lie below the merely chaotic, but no lower levels exist in the CMM.

This article [smartmatix.com] defines and describes lower maturity levels and their associated Kounter Productive Attitudes (KPAs). Of course in the SEI's CMM, KPA stands for Key Process Area.

The 4 levels of Immaturity:
  • Level 0: Negligent (Indifference) - Failure to allow successful development process to succeed. All problems are perceived to be technical problems. Managerial and quality assurance activities are deemed to be overhead and superfluous to the task of the software development process.
  • Level -1: Obstructive (Counter Productive) - Counter productive processes are imposed. Processes are rigidly defined and adherence to the form is stressed. Ritualistic ceremonies abound. Collective management precludes assigning responsibility. Status quo "über alles" (more important than anything else).
  • Level -2: Contemptuous (Arrogance) - Disregard for good software engineering institutionalized. Complete schism between software development activities and software process improvement activities. Complete lack of a training program.
  • Level -3: Undermining (Sabotage) - Total neglect of own charter, conscious discrediting of peer organization's software process improvement efforts. Rewarding failure and poor performance.

Why would you buy from feds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47289781)

Why would anyone want to buy bitcoins from feds, especially since they can be tracked fairly well afterwards? Ok, if you mistrust "bitcoin specific exchanges" and you don't want to use something like localbitcoins, you still have well established and safe places where you can buy your bitcoins using credit/debit cards, ewallets (skrill), paypal etc (e.g. http://www.virwox.info)

So where's the list? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 3 months ago | (#47289961)

Alright, they flubbed up and leaked everyone's email address; where is the list? Surely it's been posted somewhere, I'd like to take a look at it myself.

MENSA (1)

tehlinux (896034) | about 3 months ago | (#47291079)

Reminds me of the time I got a recruiting email from MENSA where they made the same mistake. Nice job, geniuses!

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