In a sign of tightening regulations on the $2 trillion booming cryptocurrency market, the US Justice Department has appointed Eun Young Choi to lead a team tasked with investigating and prosecuting illicit cryptocurrency schemes reports aljazeera.com.
Eun Young Choi is a veteran cybersecurity prosecutor who will lead a team to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals involved in peddling illicit cryptocurrencies. It will also include nation-states like Iran and North Korea using cryptocurrencies as a conduit to finance terror activities and nuclear programs.
The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, headed by Eun Young Choi, will be the nerve center to identify and destroy the misuse of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Monaco said in an interview. “If we’re going to see — as I think we will — cryptocurrency gaining more traction and gaining wider adoption, we’ve got to make sure that the ecosystem that they operate in can be trusted and, frankly, can be policed. So 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.”
Anonymity makes cryptocurrency an attractive option for criminals.
There is a fierce debate on police the $2 trillion cryptocurrency sector among prosecutors and regulators. Digital assets and NFT’s has also become a tool for rogue nations, drug peddlers, and criminals to launder billions of dollars worth of their ill-gotten wealth. The decentralized anonymity of cryptocurrencies, blockchain transactions encryption, and digital wallets make it a perfect toy for darker players to carry out their nefarious activities.
80% rise in illicit transactions in 2021
According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, Illicit transactions jumped to $14 billion. It represented a whopping 80% rise in 2021. The focus of the new team will be to weed out unlawful goings-on on virtual currency exchanges as well as cryptocurrency tumbler, or mixing, services, which are used to camouflage tainted funds
Choi is a well-known cybersecurity prosecutor and had recently served as senior counsel to Monaco on cybersecurity matters.