The head of the Department of Justice’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), Eun Young Choi, has announced plans for a crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry. Choi emphasizes that her agency will target companies involved in criminal activities, irrespective of their size, in response to the significant rise in illicit practices within the digital asset space.
NCET’s Focus and Objectives
The NCET, established last year and led by Choi, is dedicated to investigating the criminal use of digital assets. Its focus extends to virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, infrastructure providers, and other entities facilitating or engaging in criminal activities involving cryptocurrencies.
Regulatory Action and Recent Cases
The cryptocurrency industry has faced regulatory action and law enforcement scrutiny. Notably, FTX, once considered a stable presence in the industry, witnessed its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, being charged with fraud and conspiracy charges. Similar attention has been directed towards Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission suing the company for operating illegally in the US.
Size Not a Factor
Choi made it clear that the size of a company will not shield it from potential charges. The Department of Justice will not overlook firms that have gained significant market share while violating US criminal law. The notion of being “too big to fail” will not exempt any entity from facing legal consequences.
Increased Crypto Enforcement Efforts
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), under Chairman Gary Gensler, has also ramped up its enforcement efforts in the crypto industry. With 13 enforcement actions taken this year alone, the SEC is on track to surpass last year’s figures by more than 25%. Gensler’s focus has shifted towards trading platforms catering to US investors, and he has expanded the number of enforcement attorneys in the SEC’s crypto unit.
The US government, through agencies like NCET and the SEC, is intensifying its scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry. Eun Young Choi’s vow to target criminal activities within the space, regardless of a company’s size, highlights the government’s commitment to curbing illicit practices. As regulatory actions unfold, industry players must navigate an increasingly rigorous enforcement landscape.