On Feb. 17, United States Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced at the Munich Cyber Security Conference the formation of the new task force “dedicated to cryptocurrency” within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Coming four months after the launch of the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), this marks another major step in the U.S. government’s crusade against criminal abuse of cryptocurrencies. 

What the task force will look like

The name of the new task force that Monaco revealed is the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU). It will bring together the personnel from the various units of the FBI with crypto expertise to conduct investigations that use blockchain analysis and can result in virtual assets’ seizure. There are still not a lot of details available on the details of the VAXU’s operation but in her speech, Monaco clearly emphasized the fight against cyber ransomware as the main priority:

“Ransomware and digital extortion, like many other crimes fueled by cryptocurrency, only work if the bad guys get paid, which means we have to bust their business model […] The currency might be virtual, but the message to companies is concrete: if you report to us, we can follow the money and not only help you but hopefully prevent the next victim.”

The VAXU also plans to work jointly with foreign task forces to track down multinational criminal networks operating in crypto.

Relation to the NCET

Despite its primary affiliation with the FBI, VAXU will in fact be part of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement…


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