US Department of Justice launches National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

The initiative aims to give the Department of Justice more room to act against crypto-related crimes

The US Department of Justice announced through a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit this Wednesday the launching of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. 

The initiative has the purpose of tackling “complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency”, as well as “particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors”. 

The statement was made by US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco who added that the team will also help recovering assets lost to fraud and extortion in crypto-related activities and it includes payment to ransomware groups. 

“We won’t hesitate to go after laundering platforms and are drawing on cyber experts and prosecutors, and money laundering experts”

-Lisa Monaco, US Deputy Attorney General

Monaco reinforced that the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement team will give the Department of Justice more strength to combat “financial markets that allow cybercriminals to ‘flourish’”, especially with the crypto’s exchanges goal of wanting to be “the banks of the future”. 

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future. Well, we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to be poised to root out abuse. The point is to protect consumers”. 

-Lisa Monaco, US Deputy Attorney General

The initiative came along with another one to combat civil cyber fraud with “civil enforcement tools to pursue companies, those who are government contractors, who receive federal funds, when they fail to follow recommended cybersecurity standards”.

“For too long, companies have chosen silence under the mistaken belief that it’s less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That changes today.” 

-Lisa Monaco, US Deputy Attorney General

The US government has been talking about security in the crypto ecosystem for a while now. In the beginning of October, Biden announced the assembling of 30 countries to fight “illicit use of crypto”. 

Repercussions regarding the US positioning are mixed. While some have fear of too much interference from the government in crypto activities, others reinforce the idea of a solid regulation to prevent scams and other crimes, bringing more security to the universe of cryptos, digital assets and blockchain. 

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