bitcoin wallet

A California venture capitalist has won a government auction for 30,000 bitcoins seized from the Silk Road website. (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Venture capitalist Tim Draper has been revealed as the winner of the auction of nearly 30,000 bitcoins that were seized from the website Silk Road by U.S. marshals.

Draper was the sole winner of the 29,655 bitcoins formerly held by Silk Road, a website that was shut down by U.S. authorities last year after it was revealed to be a hive of illegal activities, such as drug transactions and money laundering. Authorities took control of the site's servers and arrested Ross Ulbricht, a Texan who authorities said owned and operated the website.

The auction of the seized bitcoins was run by Vaurum, a bitcoin exchange, which revealed that Draper, a co-founder of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, had the lone winning bid. How much he paid for the coins has not been made public.

The auction started on Friday, the winner was notified on Monday evening and the transfer of bitcoin took place Tuesday, according to Lynzey Donahue, spokeswoman for the U.S. marshals.

The auction drew 63 bids from 45 registered bidders on Friday. The price of bitcoin rose on Tuesday, adding to Monday's gains. It is currently trading at more than $650 US per bitcoin, which means Draper's haul is worth roughly $18 million US.

Several prominent participants have come forward to say that their bids did not win. Barry Silbert of SecondMarket Holdings, which runs a bitcoin investment platform, said on Monday his firm was outbid, as did hedge fund Pantera Capital, which bid below the market price, according to Pantera chief executive Dan Morehead.

Bitcoin Shop Inc., which trades on the over-the-counter market OTCQB, said in a release on Tuesday that its bid had also been rejected.