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FBI launches a new unit for crypto crimes and blockchain analysis

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TL;DR Breakdown: 

  • The FBI is launching a new team for crypto and blockchain-related crimes. 
  • It will be directed by long-term prosecutor Eun Young Choi. 
  • The new unit aims to investigate and procedure crimes in the virtual asset space. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is launching a new unit for investigating cryptocurrency and virtual asset related crimes. The newly formed unit will be called the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the NCET will be responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crimes taking place on the blockchain, as well as involving crypto. 

The newly formed team will be headed by Eun Young Choi, according to the press release. She was the former Cybercrime Coordinator at the US Attorney’s Office for New York. Choi is also currently the Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.

With the immense growth of crypto and blockchain-related crimes, the U.S. Justice Department wishes to significantly crackdown on these crypto criminals and make the overall crypto space safer for new investors. Attorney General Monaco mentioned that this new unit will send a message to virtual criminals that “Crypto is not a safe haven”. Last year, crypto hacks and scams accounted for almost $7 billion globally. 

crypto crime

The Department of Justice continues to confront crypto crimes 

The formation of a dedicated crypto crime unit was in talks for a long time as revealed by the Justice Department. However, it’s highly likely that the NCET’s formation came quicker than expected because of the recent Bitfinex hack uncovering

Last week, the Justice Department recorded their largest-ever financial seize, as the New York couple Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan were arrested for stealing almost $5 billion worth of Bitcoins. The couple has been tied directly to the 2016 Bitfinex hack

Last year, the Justice Department announced several enforcement initiatives against crypto hacks and cyber breaches. It also announced a regulatory obligation for government contractors and crypto exchanges to report cyber breaches. The NCET will act to carry out this vision successfully. 

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