The U.S. federal government’s chief lawyer, Merrick Garland, is asking for more international cooperation to help protect investors, consumers, and businesses that use digital assets.
A Department of Justice report, compiled alongside federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission, calls for sharing more information with foreign law enforcement agencies. Better collaboration, the report says, will help “avoid duplicative efforts that waste investigative resources.”
The attorney general’s report, delivered on Monday, is in response to an executive order issued by President Joe Biden in March that asked federal agencies to research digital assets with the intention of drafting federal legislation.
Crimes facilitated using cryptocurrencies often are much harder to prosecute than those wrapped up in paper currencies, the report notes, adding that “criminal actors leverage the innovation, claims of decentralization, and anonymizing features of cryptocurrencies to facilitate criminal conduct in all corners of the world.”
Many crimes—money laundering, using ransomware, financing terror, and evading sanctions among them—can be completed much faster because they don’t go through traditional financial intermediaries, which have rules in place to flag suspicious transactions.
But because blockchain-based transactions are “permanently recorded on distributed ledgers publicly available on the Internet,” that eventually could create more opportunities for law enforcement officers to “follow the money…