US Department of Justice launches National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

on Oct 6, 2021
  • The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team will help in going after those participating in illegal crypto
  • Recently, several US companies including Colonial Pipeline were attacked by ransomwares.
  • US government to take a more active role in dealing with perpetrators of illegal crypto activities.

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When addressing the Aspen Institute Cyber Summit on October 6, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that the US Department of Justice had launched the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

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The initiative of launching the team is aimed at going after platforms that facilitate money laundering or participate in illegal activities including hiding proceeds of crime.

Government to take tougher action against criminals using crypto

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Another official from the Office of the Attorney General also said that the government was angling itself to take a more active role in taking actions against those who use crypto for money laundering and other cybercrimes.

While citing her office’s work against a darknet-based BTC mixing service called Helix in August, Monaco said:

“We want to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial ecosystem that enables these criminal actors to flourish and — quite frankly — to profit from what they’re doing. We’re going to do that by drawing on our cyber experts and cyber prosecutors and money-laundering experts.”

Focus on crypto exchanges

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US companies have also been a target of ransomware attacks and the ransom is mostly paid in digital currencies especially Bitcoin (BTC).

Unfortunately, most of these transactions are facilitated by crypto exchanges

While addressing crypto exchanges, Monaco said:

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future. We need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems, and we need to make sure we’re poised to root out abuse that can take hold on them.”

Monaco has been a central figure as the US government to the recent ransomware attacks. She was part of the task force that tracked and recaptured millions of dollars paid to Russian Darkside hackers by the Colonial Pipeline System in May following its ransomware attack.

While announcing the launch of the enforcement team, Monaco also announced a civil cyber fraud initiative to pursue government contracts that fail to follow the required security standards or fail to report security breaches.