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Tucked away among the Ford, Dodge and Chevy sedans, the 12,000-gallon storage container and the inoperable Caterpillar tractor being auctioned off by the U.S. government is an unusual item: 0.7501 of a Bitcoin.

The U.S. General Services Administration typically uses its auctions to sell surplus federal equipment to the general public. With lot 4KQSCI21105001, which goes up for auction in a week, the government is offering an amount of Bitcoin worth about $38,000 at Monday’s price.

The government doesn’t say where its surplus digital currency came from. And while it’s a far cry from the 30,000 Bitcoins auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014 after they were seized from the Silk Road marketplace, the GSA auction is one more indication of how Bitcoin is becoming more and more mainstream.

On Wall Street, too, there is a newfound openness to the world’s most valuable digital currency: Custody banking giant Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said it will hold, transfer and issue digital currencies, while Mastercard Inc. announced plans to let cardholders transact in certain cryptocurrencies on its network. A Morgan Stanley unit known for picking growth stocks is considering adding Bitcoin to its possible bets and, last week, a person close to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the bank plans to reopen a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.

The Bitcoins auctioned off by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014 were estimated at the time to be worth about $19 million, though the winning bid — by venture capitalist Tim Draper — wasn’t disclosed. Those coins would be worth $1.5 billion today as the cryptocurrency’s price has skyrocketed to almost $51,000.

The GSA auction is scheduled to be held from March 15 to 17.


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