The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) establishes a new section to investigate cryptocurrency and virtual asset offenses. The new agency will be known as the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the NCET would be in charge of investigating and prosecuting offenses utilizing blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
According to the news statement, Eun Young Choi will lead the newly created team. She was previously the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s Cybercrime Coordinator. Choi is also the Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General.
With the exponential expansion of crypto and blockchain-related crimes, the US Justice Department aims to dramatically crackdown on these crypto criminals while also making the general crypto ecosystem safer for new investors. According to Attorney General Monaco, this new section will message virtual criminals that “Crypto is not a safe haven.” Crypto hacking and frauds cost the world over $7 billion last year.
The Department of Justice is still fighting crypto crime
According to the Justice Department, developing a dedicated crypto crime section has been in the works for quite some time. However, it’s possible that the NCET was formed sooner than intended due to the recent Bitfinex incident.
The Justice Department made their largest-ever financial seizure last week when New York couple Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan were detained for stealing over $5 billion in Bitcoins. The pair has been closely linked to the Bitfinex breach in 2016.
Last year, the Justice Department launched various enforcement actions to combat crypto attacks and cyber intrusions. It also proposed a regulation requirement that government contractors and cryptocurrency exchanges disclose cyber intrusions. The NCET will take action to ensure that this goal is realized.