The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has appointed Eun Young Choi as Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, according to her, the unit will target both crypto exchanges, cybercriminals, nation-states and mixers involved in illicit finance.
Eun Young Choi, a cybersecurity prosecutor, was recently named to lead the Justice Department’s newly formed “National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team,” which is tasked with cracking down on digital currency schemes used in criminal finance. It is aimed at both cybercriminals and nation-states, such as Iran and North Korea.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the new appointment.
They also met with Choi, who stated that the team will focus on both cryptocurrency exchanges and mixing services. Mixers are tools that allow cryptocurrencies to be free of their on-chain money trail — a feature that, contrary to popular assumption, can make them a poor money laundering instrument.
“We’re going to make it our business to go after them and get those proceeds back and make it clear to them that they can’t hide,” Monaco said of criminals using cryptocurrencies.
Despite their traceability, cryptocurrencies have the potential to be effective in preventing financial crimes that would otherwise be prevented through the use of third-party intermediaries.
Ransomware assaults are one of the most common use cases, accounting for nearly $600 million in Bitcoin payments last year. Because Bitcoin transactions are peer-to-peer and irrevocable, victims have no one to turn to if their money is stolen.
Over a dozen criminal prosecutors will make up the new team, which will be part of the Justice Department’s criminal division. It has intentions to expand.
“We’re trying to centralize so that we’re a one-stop shop of all the subject matter experts within the department,” said Choi.
The task force was established in October with the purpose of restoring investor confidence in cryptocurrency exchanges. Choi did not specify any of the targeted exchanges.