Updated below with a statement received by NEWSBTC from Lynzey Donahue, a U.S. Marshals spokeswoman.
“Oops!” is the word the probably most accurately describes the mistake made by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) when it comes to the auctioning of nearly $18 million worth of bitcoins seized from Silk Road servers last year.
In an email to bidders that attempted to highlight some changes to the auction’s ‘frequently asked questions’ section, the Service included all recipients in the CC field as opposed to the BCC field, making all send-to addresses visible to recipients.
Shortly thereafter, the USMS issued a recall email apologizing for the faux-pas — but not before a complete list of bidders had been publicly made available.
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.
Names on the list of bidders (over 15 total) for the Silk Road bitcoins include a Coinbase executive and a staffer for BNP Paribas. For the privacy of those involved in the leak, NEWSBTC has declined to release a list of names, though the information is easily available elsewhere on the web as of this publishing.
The accidental leak, despite an innocent mistake, could cause great grief who wished to maintain secrecy throughout the bidding process. Whether or not it will actually be a problem remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely.
About the auction
The Marshals auction for the Silk Road bitcoins is split into three blocks: a Series A auction for 9 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins (for a total of 27,000 BTC), and a Series B auction for 2,646 BTC.
The auction — also referred to by the Marshals as ‘Phase 2’ — will take place on the 27th of June from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time, presumably).
Bidders are required to register and submit a $200,000 deposit from the United States bank account.
Statement from U.S. Marshals Service:
The U.S. Marshals Service inadvertently sent an email today revealing the email addresses of people who had submitted questions about the Bitcoin auction to a general USMS mailbox that had been created for the auction. The message was intended to blind copy everyone with an attached document that contained frequently asked questions and answers on the subject. 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 USMS apologizes for this mistake which was in no way intentional.