The FBI has been given the go-ahead to liquidate up to $28 million worth of bitcoins seized during the shutdown of the Dark Web marketplace Silk Road.
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, on Thursday approved the forfeiture of approximately 29,655 bitcoins that were swiped from the Silk Road server in September last year.
At the time of the raid, the Government also seized an additional 144,336 Bitcoins (worth over $130 million) that were found on computer hardware belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht.
Ulbricht continues to thwart the attempts of the Feds to liquidate his assets, using the courts to contest the forfeiture of the bitcoins by asserting that he is the rightful owner of the stash.
The FBI has yet to give a timeline for the sale of the bitcoins in its possession, sparking fears among holders of the crypto-currency that a sudden sell-off could lead to more volatility in the exchange rate and downward pressure on prices.
Both eBay president John Donahoe and PayPal president David Marcus have become vocal supporters of the virtual currency movement in recent months. In November, Donahoe told the FT that PayPal could one day incorporate bitcoins, describing the interest in digital currencies as a "very powerful thing".