The crypto landscape is heating up as the US Department of Justice ramps up its efforts to counter the risks posed to the American people by the illegal exploitation of digital assets.
On Friday, the Justice Department’s criminal division announced the launch of its national network of digital asset coordinators (DACs).
More than 150 federal prosecutors have been selected to work within the network, representing US attorneys’ offices and other litigation components of the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) will lead the initiative. Its aim is the prevention of crimes committed using methods related to cryptography.
A response to an ever-evolving threat
The DAC Network is envisioned to serve as DOJ’s primary platform for the acquisition and dissemination of technical expertise, specialized training, and advice in the investigation and prosecution of digital asset crimes.
According to Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., innovations in digital assets have provided a new playing field for criminals who “exploit innovation to increase major national and national security and criminal threats domestically and globally.”
To combat crimes related to money laundering, virtual currency exchanges, and mixing and dumping services involving cryptocurrency, the DOJ formed the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team in October last year.
Image: American Bar Association
Existing laws vs. New generation of crypto criminals
At such an early stage, members of the newly formed DAC Network will have their hands full in learning how to apply existing laws and authorities to digital assets, an issue that continues to be a source of aggravation for justice departments in other countries.
They must also develop strategies to investigate crimes involving digital assets, including creating legally sound search and seizure warrants, restraining orders, indictments and pleadings.
Decentralized finance (DeFi), smart contracts, token platforms and their potential illicit uses are just some of the topics the DAC Network wants to address.
“For too long, companies have remained silent under the false belief that it’s less dangerous to hide a data breach than to come forward and report it. That’s no longer the case,” said the US Assistant Attorney General United, Lisa Monaco, in October.
In the same month, US President Joe Biden announced that the US would bring together 30 nations to fight cybercrime, including the “illicit use of cryptocurrencies”.
Meanwhile, 150 US prosecutors may not be much, as cryptocriminals are also growing in numbers around the world. The confrontation should draw parallels to the fight between David and Goliath as depicted in the Bible.
Crypto total market cap at $1.26 trillion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com Featured image from Business Insider, Chart: TradingView.com