The FBI takes safeguards as cryptocurrency crime climbs by an astounding 80 %
According to Chainalysis, crypto-related crimes have reached an all-time high. The FBI responded by establishing the “Crypto Task Force” to target unlawful activity in the cryptocurrency area.
Throughout 2021, the FBI has been very active in investigating crypto-related offences. They’ve issued safety recommendations for cryptocurrency aficionados, detected a spike in fraud at cryptocurrency ATMs, and taken efforts to improve security. Additionally, they have seized a significant quantity of cryptocurrency from unscrupulous people on many occasions.
The data plainly indicates that the value of crypto assets obtained via unlawful activities has reached an all-time high. Crypto-related crimes have increased by over 80% and have totaled $14 billion.
However, the cryptocurrency market’s total growth reached an all-time high. In 2021, the number of crypto transactions surged by 550 percent to $15.8 trillion. In comparison to total market growth, criminal activity inside the crypto industry has reduced dramatically, reaching an all-time low of 0.15 percent.
Despite the low proportion, the US Department of Justice intervened due to the magnitude of crypto fraud. The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) was established in October 2021. The spokesman summarised NCET’s key mission as follows:
“To conduct complicated investigations and prosecutions involving illegal exploitation of cryptocurrencies, with a special emphasis on crimes perpetrated by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure operators.”
Four months later, the Department of Justice expanded NCET’s capabilities further by establishing the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU).
Although VAXU is formally affiliated with the NCET, it maintains a key relationship with the FBI, since it brings together numerous FBI personnel with competence in the field. Deputy Attorney General of the United States Lisa Monaco summarised the primary function of VAXU as follows:
“Ransomware and digital extortion, like many other crimes driven by bitcoin, are only effective if the bad guys are compensated, which means we must disrupt their economic model.”
She continued, ” “While the currency is virtual, the message to businesses is clear: if you report to us, we can track the money and assist you, as well as maybe avoid the next victim.”
The Department of Justice chose Eun Young C, a former senior counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, as the new head of NCET after the formal launch of VAXU. During the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. stated:
“The NCET will act as the department’s focal point for addressing the increase of crime employing these technologies. Eun Young is an outstanding pioneer in the field of cyber and cryptocurrencies, and I am glad that she will remain as the NCET’s initial Director, guiding the department’s work in this area.”
As her statements and VAXU’s affiliation with the FBI create the impression that VAXU is a task force rather than a research organisation, the appointment of an ex-advisor as the new head of NCET creates the impression that the US is preparing for well-coordinated physical interferences with malicious attempts to penetrate the crypto space.