Posted 2 months ago | by Catoshi Nakamoto

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has announced the DOJ’s (Department Of Justice) launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. The new task force’s purpose will be to “strengthen” the DOJ’s ability to impair digital financial markets that allow cybercriminals to “flourish.”

AdobeStock 307397023 U.S. DOJ Launches National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

DOJ Launches National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

According to a report published by Reuters, Monaco announced the new crypto-focused task force during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit.

“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,” Lisa Monaco said.

The organization will include a mix of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity experts to help trace and track down illicit crypto purchases and sales.

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future, well we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to be poised to root out abuse,” Monaco said. “The point is to protect consumers.”

Monaco stated the initiative was focused on going after crypto platforms “that help criminals launder or hide their criminal proceeds.” Monaco provided an example noting the DOJ’s work against Darknet-based Bitcoin (BTC) mixing application Helix in August. However, she said that the U.S. government wasn’t doing enough and that they needed to continue to fight against illicit uses of cryptocurrency.

“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,” she said. “We’re going to do that by drawing on our cyber experts and cyber prosecutors and money-laundering experts.”

Monaco added:

“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.”

The Larger Fight Against Ransomware

The latest move by the U.S. DOJ is a part of a larger initiative within the Biden government to fight back against ransomware cybercrime. Earlier this week, Biden announced that the U.S. would be convening with 30 other countries to tackle the emerging growing threat.

“Cyber threats affect the lives and livelihoods of American families and businesses,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN. Sullivan said the administration would “continue to build on our whole-of-government effort to deter and disrupt cyberattacks.”
The goal of the alliance will be “to accelerate our cooperation in combatting cybercrime, improving law enforcement collaboration, stemming the illicit use of cryptocurrency, and engaging on these issues diplomatically,” Biden is set to announce Friday, according to the statement.

Three months ago, the Biden admin also launched an anti-ransomware task force geared toward dealing with blackmail by hackers against corporations, with the DOJ proposing a bounty of $10 million dollars if the information given to investigators leads to the capture of culprits responsible for such attacks. In addition, another agency the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN a bureau under the U.S. Dept of Treasury also announced in the past that Michele Korver was appointed as its first-ever Chief Digital Currency Advisor.

Korver previously worked for the Department Of Justice (DOJ) serving as a digital currency adviser for the agency’s criminal division. She also advised the Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council as well as and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and developed policies around cryptocurrency seizing and relinquishment.

Korver will be developing “FinCEN’s leadership role in the digital currency space by working across internal and external partners toward strategic and innovative solutions to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation,” the agency announced the new position on Friday.

Korver was also a prior assistant attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney for 10 years, where she prosecuted numerous cases of cybercrime and national security crimes.

This followed a comment made by FinCEN expressing that the misuse of cryptocurrencies was a national priority for the agency focused on Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML.) For the reader’s knowledge, FinCEN is an agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Treasury Department which has taken a focus on cryptocurrency in recent months.

Bitboy Crypto previously reported that the White House was in the process of finalizing its strategy for handling ransomware pertaining to crypto digital assets, which involves working with countries that are a part of the Five Eyes surveillance group, consisting of — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The U.S. wants to use this partnership alliance to make foreign cryptocurrency exchanges report suspicious transactions to governments according to Megan Stifel, a co-chair of the Ransomware Task Force, who serves as the global policy officer for the nonprofit organization Global Cyber Alliance.

This is all in response to several high-profile ransomware attacks which attacked U.S. infrastructure a few months ago including —  the colonial pipeline, JBS meat factory, and Kaysea.

Biden Administration Wants Non-custodial Wallets Illegal

As Bitboy Crypto first reported last year under the Trump administration, both FinCEN and the FATF are seeking to control unhosted or non-custodial wallets. FATF and FinCEN have both expressed in their view transactions using unhosted wallets increase AML/CTF risks. For those new to crypto, an “unhosted” wallet is a software where you generate your keys and you are in control of your funds. This embodies the entire ethos of cryptocurrency, stemming from the phrase, NOT YOUR KEYS, NOT YOUR CRYPTO.

If the cryptocurrency regulations in the U.S. do go into effect, as Bitboy Crypto warned from two insider sources in September of last year, it would mean crypto businesses would be forced to know every person their users’ crypto transactions, keeping logs, and verifying identities (KYC) even before a transfer can go through for sending crypto.

In December 2020, FinCEN issued a proposal of guidance called “Requirements for Certain Transactions Involving Convertible Virtual Currency or Digital Assets,”

According to the proposal, if a single transaction or combined transactions exceed $10,000 within a 24-hour period, the bank, MSB, or Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) will have to file a report with FinCEN and include information in relation to the transaction, the counterparty if applicable including their name and physical address as well as verification of the identity of its customer. In addition, If a transaction exceeds $3,000, banks and MBSs will be required to keep records of the transaction as well as verify the identity of the customer.

According to a report from the U.S. Treasury Department as recently as May, the administration wants to put new provisions in place that would make it easier for the government to see money moving around, including digital currencies. As CNBC noted the report stated that cryptocurrencies pose a “significant detection problem,” allowing people to dodge or evade taxes. This same report noted that there should be mandatory reporting requirements for $10,000 to the IRS.

Even before the transition to the Biden administration, in March 2020, the U.S. Treasury had convened a meeting of industry thought leaders and compliance experts to “discuss supervisory and regulatory challenges facing digital assets, including cryptocurrency.”

Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $55,319.59] UP +7.6% in the last 24 hours according to Coingecko at the time of this report.

 

About Catoshi Nakamoto

c6ea0c3794492f30883e516d39b2597a?s=90&d=blank&r=g U.S. DOJ Launches National Cryptocurrency Enforcement TeamActivist/Journalist, former writer - We Are Change, The Mind Unleashed, Coinivore, others. Currently writing for - Activist Post and Bitboy Crypto. Not Right or Left Apolitical. I Care About Truths (CATS.) Cryptocurrency enthusiast, I mined and lost 100+ BTC in 2010-2011. I work with - Bitboy, SoMee, CEEK, Presearch, and W3BT aka FMW Media Group. Friend of mostly everyone who isn't a dick. Just A Cool Cat.