According to Yoon Choi, the criminal use of cryptocurrencies has increased significantly since 2019.
The Justice Department believes that targeting these platforms will reduce money laundering.
The United States Department of Justice’s office dedicated to crimes with crypto assets will target its actions directly against bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency exchanges as well as transaction mixers that violate anti-money laundering regulations.
In an interview published on Sunday, May 14, Yoon Choi, director of the National Cryptocurrency Compliance Team, said that the decision to closely monitor the operations of exchanges and mixer Responds to a “significant” increase in crimes with crypto assets over the past four years.
“We are seeing a significant increase in the scale and scope of digital assets being used in a variety of illicit ways over the past four years. I think this is concurrent with an increase in adoption by the general public,” Choi he said.
Choi said that there are exchanges and mixers that “allow all other criminal actors to easily profit from their crimes and get paid in ways that are clearly problematic for us.”
executive also indicated They expect a “multiplier effect” in their fight against money laundering By focusing its operations on these platforms.
The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, an office under the Department of Justice, is slated to launch in February 2023. As Cryptonoticious pointed out, this division has the power to identify, investigate, support, and prosecute. Cases involving illegal and criminal use of digital assets.
They will send a “distressing message”
Choi said that, as a first step, he would send a “preventive message” to exchanges and mixers, which he alleges, “They are circumventing the rules against money laundering or Know Your Customer (KYC)”.
The head of the Cryptocurrency Anti-Crime Bureau also argued that the size of the company would not prevent a possible investigation.
In fact, he indicated that if a company has accumulated significant market share, “This is partly because they are breaking United States criminal law,” Review financial Times.
What Choi said contrasted with a report published last year by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which found that cybercriminals often launder money with cryptocurrencies, they still prefer fiat money for this illegal activity.
This trend was recognized by the United States government itself. As reported by Cryptonoticia in April this year, the Treasury Department acknowledged in a report Criminals prefer to deal with national money rather than BTC and crypto assets.
The US Has Already Moved Against Mixers and Exchanges
This is not the first time that the US government has turned its attention to exchanges and mixers. since last year Probe has been initiated against Exchange House, He has also been accused of violating US federal laws. These are the cases of Binance and Coinbase respectively.
The story about the mixer is similar. In 2022, Treasury Department approves and removes Tornado Cash, a transaction mixer for the Ethereum network. They were accused of serving North Korean hacker groups and for this reason their founder was imprisoned for several months, as reported by Cryptonoticious.
Another mixer, but for bitcoin, called Chipmixer, suffered the same fate as Tornado Cash. The Justice Department announced its disbandment in March this year, after it allegedly laundered USD 3 billion between 2017 and the present.