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The United States is strengthening its efforts to tackle cryptocurrency-related crime

Author: Syedur Rahman  19 May 2022

Syed Rahman of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli details the changes.

The United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plans to add 20 investigators and litigators to its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit.

The move, which will see the Unit’s total number of staff rise to 50, is part of its continued efforts to bring the unregulated cryptocurrency industry under federal supervision. The staffing increase is seen as vital to the Unit’s attempts to focus on crypto assets, exchanges, crypto-related products and DeFi (decentralised platforms) in the $1.7 trillion crypto market.

The Unit is set to have a new leader, as current chief Kristina Littman plans to leave at the end of June. It is also set to start assessing the risks associated with newer assets such non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The SEC’s move to strengthen its cryptocurrency activities follows last year’s creation by the Department of Justice of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to investigate the criminal use of such assets.

In the past, there has been criticism about the US’ overdue response to the criminal threats posed by the use of cryptocurrency. While the US has not been the only country to face such an accusation, it does now appear to be fully aware of the risks associated with crypto. It is showing that it is prepared to take the action it believes to be necessary.

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Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.

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