FBI Launches New Virtual Asset Unit Focuses on Blockchain and Seizure of Virtual Assets Including Cryptocurrencies

The Department of Justice on Thursday appointed Eun Young Choi to serve as the first Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).

The NCET was established to ensure the department meets the challenge posed by the criminal misuse of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, and comprises attorneys from across the department, including prosecutors with backgrounds in cryptocurrency, cybercrime, money laundering, and forfeiture, according to the news release.

“The NCET’s work will be furthered through close collaboration with components across the department, including the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section; the U.S. Attorneys’ offices; the National Security Division; and the FBI, including the FBI’s new Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, 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,” per DOJ.

They’re going after your crypto.

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Coindesk reported:

The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), announced by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Thursday, will evaluate which types of crimes involving crypto might need more resources to investigate and prosecute these cases.

Monaco announced the new unit during a keynote address at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, saying the unit will conduct its own blockchain analysis and seizing of assets involved in crimes.

“I think we are sending a message that cryptocurrencies and virtual currencies should not be considered a safe haven,” Monaco said in a question and answer session following the keynote.

The team will focus on crypto exchanges, mixers, tumblers and other types of digital asset infrastructure providers that might allow for “the criminal misuse of cryptocurrencies,” according to the release.

Ransomware will also be a key focus, according to Monaco, who said law enforcement officials have to “bust [the] business model” for launching these types of attacks.

“The NCET will enhance the Criminal Division’s existing efforts to provide support and training to federal, state, local and international law enforcement to build capacity to aggressively investigate and prosecute serious crimes involving cryptocurrency and digital assets in the United States and around the world,” the release said.