The US Department of Justice forms a national network of prosecutors focused on crypto crimes

The US Department of Justice has tapped into more than 150 federal attorneys across the country to review law enforcement efforts to combat the Increase in crime related to the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, officials said.

The Digital Asset Coordinators Network is designed to nominate subject matter experts in U.S. law firms for the complex technical and legal complications created by cryptocurrency cases, officials said. The Biden administration announced the new effort on Friday along with the release of a broader set of frameworks from other agencies regarding regulatory approaches to developing the digital currency ecosystem.

The network is motivated in part by the high level of technical expertise that can go into prosecuting cryptocurrency cases, as well as the increasing popularity of digital currencies in various areas of crime, said Eun Young Choi, first director of the National Justice Department’s cryptocurrency enforcement team. This One of the areas of crime is money laundering or terrorism financing, a means of payment for ransomware hackers and a direct target of theftShe added.

But law enforcement efforts go beyond indictments and arrests. They are also increasingly devoted to disrupting criminals through technical means – possibly relying on cryptocurrency exchanges working together – and seizing stolen cryptocurrency. For example US authorities more than $30 million in cryptocurrency seized Looted from an online game this year by hackers with ties to North Korea, one of the biggest successes in recovering digital revenues from Pyongyang, the Journal reported earlier this month.

Also on Friday, the Justice Department released a report proposing potential regulatory and legislative measures that it found could improve law enforcement’s ability to collect evidence and initiate prosecutions related to cryptocurrency criminal activity.

Among other priorities, the report called for the extension of existing laws that prohibit employees of financial institutions from providing suspects with information about ongoing investigations to digital asset service providers. The report, necessitated by a previous executive order by President Biden, also called for the strengthening of a law criminalizing the operation of unlicensed money transfer businesses and the extension of some relevant statutes of limitations to reflect the complexity uncovered by investigations into related to cryptocurrencies.

Such moves would likely require new legislation from Congress rather than executive action by the president, Ms Choi said.

The Biden administration also released a number of other reports on cryptocurrencies on Friday under the executive order. To protect consumers, the administration recommends that regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission use existing agencies to regulate the sector and coordinate closely with other regulators.

“As we have seen over the past few months, risks arising from inappropriate behavior related to trading in crypto assets continue to be a particularly serious concern. This includes fraud, theft and fraud,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “We recommend that authorities continue to rigorously pursue their enforcement efforts with a focus on the crypto-asset sector.”

As the Journal previously reported, the Biden administration will continue to explore the possibility and practicalities of creating a digital dollar.

An expanded version of this story appears on The US Department of Justice forms a national network of prosecutors focused on crypto crimes

Brian Lowry

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