US reveals list of bidders for $18m of seized bitcoin

AMERICAN authorities have apologized after mistakenly revealing the list of bidders for $18 million in bitcoin seized last year from the Silk Road, otherwise known as the 'eBay of illegal drugs'.

The list of those interested included an executive from BNP Paribas, a director from review website Yelp and an academic from a US university.

The 40-person list was made public after the US Marshals Service (USMS) mistakenly entered bidders' emails into the wrong email field.

Lynzey Donahue, a spokesperson for the US Marshals, told the Bitcoin site Coindesk that "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. Only recipient email addresses were disclosed."

The auction of the 30,000 bitcoins is still expected to take place on 27 June. To be considered bidders had to send in a $200,000 deposit, with the USMS reminding the public that they would not sell the digital cryptocurrency to "any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht."

Ulbricht is the 29-year-old computer programmer who is alleged to have operated the Silk Road under the pseudonym of the Dread Pirate Roberts.

He is currently being held by US authorities after his arrest in October 2013 and has pled 'not guilty' to charges of narcotics trafficking and contracting hit men to kill rivals.