• A group of United States law enforcement agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force, which will collaborate on crypto-related crimes.
• The task force will focus on drug trafficking, money laundering, identity theft, and child exploitation.
• Crypto crime accounted for $20.6 billion in 2022 as reported by Chainalysis.
Law Enforcement Agencies Form Task Force to Combat Crypto-Related Crimes
A group of United States law enforcement agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form the Darknet Marketplace and Digital Currency Crimes Task Force. This new organization is aimed at combating “cryptocurrency-enabled crimes” such as drug trafficking, money laundering, identity theft and child exploitation. The task force has an international reach with 93 overseas locations in 56 countries through Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Participating Law Enforcement Agencies
The agencies that are participating in this initiative include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona, the office of U.S. Attorney Gary M. Restaino, IRS Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service . Since 2017 these federal agencies have been focused on darknet drug suppliers and crypto-related crimes adapting their intelligence resources and tools to keep up with technological advancements utilized by criminal actors .
Pre-emptive Measures Taken by Other US Agencies
Other agencies within the US have also taken pre-emptive measures to address potential risks posed by digital currency including: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit; Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team; Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enlarged its Cyber Unit to meet growing scale of cybercrime including crypto related offences .
Crypto Crime Statistics
Chainalysis published a report in February 2023 highlighting how crypto crime accounted for a record setting $20 .6 billion worth of blockchain transactions in 2022 . Despite increased efforts from law enforcement officials cryptocurrency continues to be used for illegal activities worldwide .
The formation of this task force is an encouraging step forward towards combating cryptocurrency enabled crimes globally but more work needs to be done in order to ensure that all forms of cryptocurrency can be used safely for legitimate purposes without fear of being exploited by criminals or fraudsters .