U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco unveiled the initiative during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit on Wednesday.
In a speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit on Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is forming a crypto crime-fighting unit called the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
Reuters reports that the team will help the DOJ protect consumers from online financial crime. “Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future,” the article states. As Monaco told Reuters, “We must ensure people can trust these systems and root out abuse when it occurs.”
The DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Monaco also announced the formation of an initiative focused on civil cyber fraud. This initiative will bring enforcement actions against companies that receive government funding if they fail to follow government recommendations for cybersecurity standards.
This new unit will investigate and prosecute crimes including money laundering and ransomware attacks using digital currencies. In the United States alone, there were nearly 400 such attacks in 2020, extorting millions of dollars from hospitals and local governments. These incidents usually involve hackers encrypting victims’ data and demanding payment to unlock it.
The Department of Justice office of public affairs press released and said about Crypto crime enforcement team
Today we are launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to draw on the Department’s cyber and money laundering expertise to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial entities that enable criminal actors to flourish — and quite frankly to profit — from abusing cryptocurrency platforms” said Deputy Attorney General Monaco. “As the technology advances, so too must the Department evolve with it so that we’re poised to root out abuse on these platforms and ensure user confidence in these systems.”
“The Criminal Division is already an established leader in investigating and prosecuting the criminal misuse of cryptocurrency,” said Assistant Attorney General Polite. “The creation of this team will build on this leadership by combining and coordinating expertise across the Division in this continuously evolving field to investigate and prosecute the fraudulent misuse, illegal laundering, and other criminal activities involving cryptocurrencies.”