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  • The Justice Department has named Eun Young Choi as the head of its new National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team
  • Choi is a cybercrime expert who has experience in tracking rogue states such as North Korea
  • The crypto enforcement team will focus on exchanges and mixing services at first

The Justice Department has named the head of its new cryptocurrency enforcement team, which will target illegal activity on exchanges and mixing services, which are routinely used to obscure tainted funds. Veteran cybersecurity prosecutor Eun Young Choi will lead the new team that hopes to end cryptocurrency schemes and hacks carried out by cyber criminals and nation states including North Korea and Iran.

New Enforcement Team Arriving at the Right Time

The Justice Department announced its intention to create the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) last year as a response to the growth in cryptocurrency-related crime.

Working out how to police the space has been a headache for law enforcement agencies around the world ever since cryptocurrency burst into the mainstream in 2017, and the news that NCET is about to start work couldn’t be better timed – just two weeks ago it was revealed that North Korea is funding its missile program partly with stolen cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges and Mixing Services Targeted

The NCET will primarily target exchanges and cryptocurrency mixing funds which are the two key ways in which illegally obtained assets are cleaned before being sent on. And the job is not a small one – according to Chainalysis, illicit transactions jumped almost 80% to $14 billion in 2021.

Choi himself most recently served as senior counsel to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on cybersecurity matters, while the team itself is housed within the Justice Department’s criminal division and features more than a dozen experienced prosecutors with plans to hire more personnel.

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