The FBI will launch a ransomware-focused unit to monitor cryptocurrencies


Both the FBI and the US Department of Justice are making strides in the crypto space. Recent high-profile wins have given both organizations the necessary impetus to take action. Reuters reports: that the Justice Department hired “an experienced computer crime prosecutor” as their new cryptozar. For their part, the “FBI is launching a blockchain analysis and a virtual asset seizure unit.”

Both moves are a clear indication of the US’s newfound stance on cryptocurrencies.

The New Crypto Czar. of the Ministry of Justice

The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) of the US Department of Justice has a new leader. The chosen one is Ms. Eun Young Choi, “a prosecutor who led the case against a Russian hacker who helped steal information about more than 80 million JPMorgan & Chase Co customers.”

In the Ministry of Justice press release, they quote Director Choi:

“The NCET will play a critical role in ensuring that as the technology surrounding digital assets grows and evolves, the department in turn accelerates and expands its efforts to combat their illegal misuse by criminals of all kinds. I am excited to lead the incredible and talented team of attorneys at NCET and get started on this important priority for the department.”

In announcing Young Choi, Reuter quotes Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco warning criminals about their organization’s goals:

“We are issuing a clear warning to criminals using cryptocurrency to fuel their schemes. We also appeal to all cryptocurrency companies – we need you to eradicate cryptocurrency abuse. For those who don’t, we hold you accountable where we can.”

Their organization is going to move fast and break things, according to Monaco:

Going forward, prosecutors, agents and analysts will now assess — at every stage of a cyber investigation — whether to use disruptive actions against cyber threats, even if they can tip the cybercriminals differently and jeopardize the potential for indictment and arrest. .”

BTC price chart for 02-18-2022 on Easymarkets | Source: BTC/USD on

Why is the FBI now creating a crypto-focused unit?

Remember those high profile wins we mentioned? Well, of course, the recent capture of the alleged Bitfinex hackers is one of them. The creation of the FBI’s “virtual asset exploitation” division comes after the Justice Department’s largest-ever financial repossession earlier this month, Reuters reported. When NewsBTC has told the storyto summarize the situation, we used the unanswered questions:

“Could this tech entrepreneur and writer/rapper have hacked into a cryptocurrency exchange? Or are they just the money launderers of a bigger operation? And did they really store the private keys for billions of BTC in the cloud? Or were they set up? Are law enforcement officers fooling the public or are they the heroes of the day?”

The other high-profile win is the Colonial Pipeline hack. According to Reuters, the FBI “is stepping up their investigation into the crypto industry in the wake of a series of high-profile cyberattacks last year against the largest US fuel pipeline network and the world’s largest beef supplier.” When law enforcement recovered millions in BTC from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware payout, NewsBTC summarized the situation comparable:

“According to the report, Colonial Pipeline manages approximately 45% of the fuel off the US East Coast. The CEO, Joseph Blount, was forced to pay the ransom demanded by the hacker on the main computer of a control room. Estimated at about $4.4 million paid in 63.7 Bitcoin.

The operation was carried out by a special ransomware task force set up by the US federal government. This type of attack has become regular. There is growing concern among the public and authorities.”

That growing concern eventually led to the creation of a new crypto czar and a new FBI unit to focus on the problem.

Conclusions and market considerations

There is growing concern about how these high-profile attacks will affect the market. Will the police just give the BTC to Bitfinex? Or will they auction it instead? Will the US put it on the balance sheet as Bitcoin? How will the police play it? And what happens when those coins hit the market in one of those ways?

The Bitfinex hack could become a milestone and point towards the government with all of this. Don’t worry, NewsBTC keeps an eye on every little development for you.

Featured image by Marija Zaric on Unsplash | Charts by TradingView

This post The FBI will launch a ransomware-focused unit to monitor cryptocurrencies, was first published at monitor crypto/

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