U.S. agencies to take on crypto crimes with new taskforce
- The new task force will have an international reach, as one unit has 93 overseas locations in 56 countries.
- Crypto crime accounted for $20.6 billion in 2022, as per Chainalysis.
On 20 June, a group of United States law enforcement agencies announced the formation of the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force, which will collaborate on crimes involving the darknet and digital currency. The new organization will focus on “cryptocurrency-enabled crimes” such as drug trafficking, money laundering, identity theft, and child exploitation.
The agencies include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona, the office of U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino, IRS Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last week, formalizing the action.
Since 2017, these federal agencies have focused on darknet drug suppliers and crypto-related crimes, adapting their intelligence, resources, and tools to keep up with the technological advancements utilized by criminal actors. The task force will allow these agencies to continue to collaborate and improve their abilities to detect and prosecute cybercrime.
Law enforcement agencies across the globe have been developing specialized units for crypto-related enforcement. The new task force will have an international reach, as the HSI has 93 overseas locations in 56 countries.
Other agencies within the U.S. have also taken pre-emptive measures to address the risks posed by digital currency. Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, which works with the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.
Furthermore, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also enlarged its Cyber Unit to meet the growing scale of cybercrime, including crypto-related offences.
Crypto crime accounted for $20.6 billion in 2022
Chainalysis published a report in February 2023, highlighting how crypto crime accounted for a record-setting $20.6 billion worth of blockchain transactions in 2022.
Criminal activity accounted for 0.24% of all blockchain transactions in 2022, an increase of 0.12% from 2021. It’s also worth keeping in mind that 43% of 2022’s illicit transaction volume came from activity associated with sanctioned entities such as crypto exchange Garantex and decentralized mixing tool Tornado Cash.