The UK’s National Crime Agency has decided to assemble a specialist team to proactively investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes.
The National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) crypto cell will initially include five officers and support existing and new investigations that will benefit from specialist cryptocurrency expertise. Additionally, according to decrypt.co citing a recent job posting, members of this team will need to adopt a proactive stance when it comes to identifying potential targets for further investigation.
Applicants will need to have a background in blockchain forensics and will be able to apply for the position until January 10, 2023.
Representatives of the National Crime Agency quoted by the same source pointed out that the crime prevention body has been involved in stopping crypto crime for some time, but putting this new team together will signal an increased focus on cryptocurrency surveillance.
The UK is stepping up its investigation into cryptocurrencies
The UK appears committed to preventing cryptocurrencies from being used to finance illicit activities. To this end, the UK Parliament introduced the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which made it easier for police forces to investigate and take action against organized criminals who rely on cryptocurrencies.
A report from the National Crime Agency shows how they managed to seize nearly £27 million worth of crypto assets in the 2021-2022 financial year. The report also highlights that, in the case of money laundering, criminals have increasingly exploited fintech and cryptocurrencies and have adapted to travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
US federal agencies warned banks of cryptocurrency risks
In January 2023, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC released a joint statement warning banks about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
The Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released the relevant statement on Jan. 3, 2023 and touched on various issues identified in the cryptocurrency industry in 2022.
The agencies pointed out that there are several risks that cannot be managed in the cryptocurrency sector and that these risks should not reach the traditional banking system. Some of the risks they identified include fraud, volatility and contagion.
According to cointelegraph.com, based on the agencies’ experience thus far, they have concluded that issuing or holding as a major crypto asset that is issued, stored, or transferred over an open, public, or decentralized network is likely incompatible with the system secure banking practices.