The U.S. Marshals Service, the nation’s federal law enforcement agency, announced Wednesday it will auction approximately $4.3 million worth of bitcoins starting Nov. 5. The announcement said the sealed bid auction is for about 660 bitcoins that were forfeited in federal criminal, civil, and administrative cases.

The announcement stipulated that to participate in the auction, bidders were required to register identification with the agency and deposit $200,000 before Oct .31. The auction will occur in series with six blocks of 100 bitcoins each and one remaining block with 60 bitcoins. The bidders will not be allowed to view other bids nor can they change their bid after they have been submitted.

It was further indicated that the forfeited bitcoins are from recent cases such as the lawsuit against bitcoin traders Theresa Tetley and Thomas Mario Costanzo – both sentenced to jail on charges of bitcoin money laundering.

While open to non-U.S. nationals, bids will not be admitted from any person or entity that appears on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control list of Specially Designated Nationals. All deposit and purchase funds must be drawn from a U.S. bank.

The required particulars for registration include a manually signed pdf copy of the “Bidder Registration Form”; a copy of a government-issued photo ID for the bidder (or representative(s) of the bidder); deposit (in dollars) transferred electronically from a bank located within the U.S.; and a copy of the receipt of the deposit having been transferred.

auction The U.S. Marshals announced Wednesday nearly $4.3 million worth of forfeited bitcoin will be auctioned next month. Here, an auctioneer gestures with his hammer at the Hospices de Beaune's 150th charity auction wine sale in Beaune, central France, Nov. 21, 2010. Photo: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

The auction comes months after the U.S. Marshals sold over 2,100 bitcoins and 3,600 bitcoins in March and January, respectively, an amount adding up to about $50 million at the time.

In terms of asset forfeiture made as a whole by the U.S. Marshals Service, the value of assets on hand as of Sept. 30, 2017, stood at $1.8 billion, with the amount distributed to victims of crime and claimants being $144.7 million and the amount shared with participating state and local law enforcement agencies at $332.5 million.

The U.S. Marshals Service plays a critical role in identifying and evaluating assets that represent the proceeds of crime as well as efficiently handling and selling assets seized and forfeited by the Department of Justice. The Marshals Service handles a wide collection of assets, including art, antiques, cash, collectibles, commercial businesses, financial instruments, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, vessels, and aircraft. Proceeds made from asset sales are used to operate the program, compensate victims, and support various law enforcing efforts.

In October 2017, an Italian auction house let people bid and settle with bitcoin, and it was reported to be the first auction to allow bitcoin to be used. Bitcoin itself was not auctioned in this event, but around 600 Italian and foreign design objects, mostly pieces of furniture were auctioned and bitcoins were accepted as payment.