The U.S. government is about to put thousands of bitcoins on the auction block.
The digital currency -- about $17.4 million of it, according to the currency converter Preev.com -- was seized from Silk Road, an online black marketthat authorities say had nearly 1 million users.
Silk Road operated in the largely anonymous dark corners of the Internet and specialized in contraband of all varieties, including drugs and illegal weapons.
The FBI shuttered the site in October and seized the nearly 30,000 bitcoins that will soon be auctioned.
Agents also arrested Ross William Ulbricht, who the feds say owned and managed the site using the monicker Dread Pirate Roberts. They confiscated bitcoins he held and charged him with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering charges, according to the government.