The Justice Department assigned more than 150 federal prosecutors to bolster law enforcement’s efforts against a rise in crime connected to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Digital Asset Coordinators Network designates subject-matter experts in U.S. Attorneys’ offices to handle the complex technical and legal complications posed by cryptocurrency cases. The Biden administration is issuing a broader set of frameworks from other agencies on regulatory approaches to the digital currency ecosystem.
The network was prompted in part by the need for technical expertise that can go into prosecuting cryptocurrency cases, as well as digital currencies’ increasing popularity across several different areas of crime, said Eun Young Choi, the first director of the national cryptocurrency enforcement team. Those areas include money laundering or financing terrorism, a vehicle of payment for ransomware hackers, and a direct target of theft, she said. “Digital-asset crimes are truly multidisciplinary,” Choi said. “They are cross-border, complex, and challenging investigations and they require a certain level of competency.” The network, which aims to train and educate other Justice officials on cryptocurrency issues, will include officials with backgrounds in the department’s tax, criminal, civil, national security and environmental divisions. Choi said, “We have seen the growth of criminal use of digital assets increase in both scope and volume."