DOJ Announces Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team


The group will include cybersecurity and anti-money laundering experts looking to crack down on ransomware and other criminal efforts. 

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Wednesday announced a new team within the Justice Department created to investigate the misuse of cryptocurrency platforms and protect consumers.

The Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, she said, will include cybersecurity experts, prosecutors and anti-money laundering experts who will help prevent hackers from using cryptocurrency exchanges to extort victims of ransomware and other cyberattacks.

“We’ve got points on the board when it comes to this issue, but we want to strengthen our capacity to dismantle the financial ecosystem that enables these criminal actors to flourish, quite frankly, and profit from what they’re doing,” said Monaco, speaking at the Aspen Institute Cyber Summit. “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.”

The Justice Department has flexed its law enforcement muscle in the cryptocurrency market in recent months, seizing $2.3 million in cryptocurrency paid to ransomware extortionists in August. Monaco said the department’s enforcement efforts in cryptocurrency parallel longstanding efforts the department has undertaken in the securities markets to protect consumers.

“We’ve been enforcing securities laws for decades,” Monaco said, noting criminal action taken against fraud and insider trading. “The same has got to be true as technology advances, so we need to evolve with it.”