The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a new unit to tackle crypto exploitation. According to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI’s new Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit is a specialized team of cryptocurrency experts dedicated to providing analysis, support, and training across the FBI, as well as innovating its cryptocurrency tools to stay ahead of future threats.
The new team will work with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
The new FBI team will work with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat “the criminal misuse of cryptocurrencies.” Earlier, the Justice Department had announced the appointment of Eun Young Choi to serve as the first director of the NCET. Choi “is an accomplished leader on cyber and cryptocurrency issues,” the DOJ detailed. Choi explained that the department will accelerate and expand its efforts “to combat their illicit abuse by criminals of all kinds.” The NCET will focus on cryptocurrency exchanges, mixing, tumbling services, infrastructure providers, and other firms facilitating illicit activities.
U.S. regulators are working on curbing crypto-related crimes.
Earlier this month, the DoJ had seized $3.6 billion in Bitcoin that it said was linked to the 2016 hack of the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex. The U.S. agency has been investigating criminal cases associated with crypto trading and transactions and charging individuals culpable of crimes. The Justice department especially has continued to partner with federal agencies such as HSI (Homeland Security Investigations), ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), and IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to leverage their established programs and resources related to tracking illicit actors who use cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the DOJ continues to partner with private sector firms and financial institutions to gain insight into crypto transactions (through blockchain-based forensics analysis) to identify transactions associated with illicit activities.