On October 6, 2021, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (“NCET”) within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”). According to the announcement, the goal of NCET will be “to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.” In addition to its cryptocurrency responsibilities, NCET will also be tasked with tracing and recovering assets lost due to fraud and extortion, including cryptocurrency payments made to ransomware groups.
NCET will be staffed with members of DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (“MLARS”) and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, as well as from other sections within DOJ and experts detailed from various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. NCET is intended to build upon MLARS’ pre-existing Digital Currency Initiative and will be informed by DOJ’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework, which was released in October 2020. In addition to pursuing its own cases, NCET will also support existing and future cases brought by other sections in DOJ’s Criminal Division, in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and by other federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement authorities.
A link to the announcement can be found here.
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Blockchain technology utilizes a distributed digital ledger to record and track information, and can be leveraged to gain transparency and certainty in transactions ranging from cryptocurrency to supply chain tracking. This blog provides information on the legal developments surrounding implementation of blockchain technology, with an initial focus on the financial services sector.