DOJ Creates Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit for FBI

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Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it is forming a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit.
  • The unit is part of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) and will serve the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • The NCET has also appointed Eun Young Choi, an experienced computer crimes prosecutor, as its first Director.

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it is establishing a unit for blockchain analysis and virtual asset seizure called the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit.

New Unit Will Be Part of NCET

The Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit will be made up of a team of crypto experts providing services to the FBI. It will also work on developing cryptocurrency enforcement tools against future threats.

The unit is part of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), a division created in 2021 to investigate criminal uses of cryptocurrency carried out by cryptocurrency exchanges, coin mixers, and other entities engaged in money laundering.

With the creation of the new unit, the NCET will also begin to act outside U.S. borders. The Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit plans to strengthen earlier efforts from the DOJ and support law enforcement at domestic and international levels of government.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., who supervises the NCET, said that criminals are increasingly using digital assets to “fuel cyberattacks and ransomware and extortion schemes.” He also said that the NCET will act as “the focal point for the department’s efforts to tackle the growth of crime involving these technologies.”

NCET Appoints First Director

The announcement also appointed veteran computer crimes prosecutor Eun Young Choi as the Director of the NCET.

Choi has almost a decade of experience within the U.S. justice system. She has acted as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco since 2021. Prior to that, she worked within the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

Notably, Choi led an investigation last year concerning a Russian hacker who stole information from 100 million consumers, including 80 million JPMorgan Chase customers.

Choi said that the NCET will “play a pivotal role in ensuring that as the technology surrounding digital assets grows and evolves” and that it will grow its efforts to combat illegal use of digital assets.

Disclosure: At the time of reporting, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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