VC who wants to split California REVEALED as Silk Road Bitcoin slurper

Auction winner says he'll use BTC hoard to save us from weakening real-world money


Venture capitalist Tim Draper has revealed that he is the investor who snapped up nearly 30,000 Bitcoins seized from shut-down online drugs market Silk Road, having outbid all comers in an auction held by the US Marshals Service last week.

The 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins nabbed from Silk Road's digital wallets were auctioned off as part of a civil forfeiture procedure while Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the darknet drug-sales souk, awaits trial on narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other charges.

Draper emerged as the top bidder in the auction in a Wednesday blog post by Bitcoin trading infrastructure firm Vaurum, in which Draper was an early investor.

In a joint statement, Draper and Vaurum said they plan to use the Bitcoin hoard as a way to offer security and liquidity to investors living in countries where the local currency is weak.

"Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency," Draper said. "We want to enable people to hold and trade bitcoin to secure themselves against weakening currencies."

If you're not seeing it, then frankly neither is El Reg. The tribulations of foreign currency markets aside, Bitcoin itself is highly volatile, with the price of a single Bitcoin having ranged from under $100 to over $1,000 and back down again, in just the last year alone.

But then, this isn't the first unlikely idea to which Draper has hitched his wagon. Earlier this year, the venture capitalist floated a ballot initiative that would split California into six separate states.

Under Draper's proposal, the San Francisco Bay Area and the rich counties of the state's central coast would be grouped into a new state known as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and some other coastal regions would become West California, and the comparatively agrarian (and poorer) territories to the north, south, and east would be jettisoned to fend for themselves.

But although many Californians may give grumbling assent to Draper's assertion that the state in its current form is "ungovernable," his initiative has gained little traction among voters, and nobody in the higher levels of government takes it seriously. Absent any other barriers, dividing California into six states would mean the region would gain ten new Senators, while presently it has but two.

Like his "Split California" proposal, however, Draper is apparently dead serious about his plan to use Bitcoins as a hedge against failing currencies. He reportedly won the US Marshals auction alone, using his own money, and he outbid every other participant, including various finance firms and Bitcoin startups.

In a canned statement, Vaurum CEO Avish Bhama said: "Many thanks to the United States Marshals Service for their facilitation of the auction. We’re excited about the opportunity to put these coins to good use and are looking forward to working with Tim in such a unique way." ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Boeing's Starliner capsule corroded due to high humidity levels, NASA explains, and the spaceship won't fly this year

    Meanwhile Elon's running orbital tourist trips and ISS crew missions

    Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, will not fly until the first half of next year at the earliest, as the manufacturing giant continues to tackle an issue with the spacecraft’s valves.

    Things have not gone smoothly for Boeing. Its Starliner program has suffered numerous setbacks and delays. Just in August, a second unmanned test flight was scrapped after 13 of 24 valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system jammed. In a briefing this week, Michelle Parker, chief engineer of space and launch at Boeing, shed more light on the errant components.

    Boeing believes the valves malfunctioned due to weather issues, we were told. Florida, home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the Starliner is being assembled and tested, is known for hot, humid summers. Parker explained that the chemicals from the spacecraft’s oxidizer reacted with water condensation inside the valves to form nitric acid. The acidity corroded the valves, causing them to stick.

    Continue reading
  • Research finds consumer-grade IoT devices showing up... on corporate networks

    Considering the slack security of such kit, it's a perfect storm

    Increasing numbers of "non-business" Internet of Things devices are showing up inside corporate networks, Palo Alto Networks has warned, saying that smart lightbulbs and internet-connected pet feeders may not feature in organisations' threat models.

    According to Greg Day, VP and CSO EMEA of the US-based enterprise networking firm: "When you consider that the security controls in consumer IoT devices are minimal, so as not to increase the price, the lack of visibility coupled with increased remote working could lead to serious cybersecurity incidents."

    The company surveyed 1,900 IT decision-makers across 18 countries including the UK, US, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, finding that just over three quarters (78 per cent) of them reported an increase in non-business IoT devices connected to their org's networks.

    Continue reading
  • Huawei appears to have quenched its thirst for power in favour of more efficient 5G

    Never mind the performance, man, think of the planet

    MBB Forum 2021 The "G" in 5G stands for Green, if the hours of keynotes at the Mobile Broadband Forum in Dubai are to be believed.

    Run by Huawei, the forum was a mixture of in-person event and talking heads over occasionally grainy video and kicked off with an admission by Ken Hu, rotating chairman of the Shenzhen-based electronics giant, that the adoption of 5G – with its promise of faster speeds, higher bandwidth and lower latency – was still quite low for some applications.

    Despite the dream five years ago, that the tech would link up everything, "we have not connected all things," Hu said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021