The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has almost doubled its cybercrime unit in a bid to delve deeper into crypto law enforcement. The Federal Agency announcements On Tuesday, he added 20 positions, including investigative lawyers, court advisers, fraud analysts and supervisors, to be “better prepared for policing in crypto markets.”

“Crypto markets have exploded in recent years, with retail investors taking the brunt of abuses in the area. Meanwhile, cyber threats continue to pose existential risks to our financial markets and players, “said Gurbir S. Greval, director of the SEC’s law enforcement department. press release. “The supported cryptocurrency and cybernetics unit will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges.

In the last five years, the SEC says the department has conducted more than 80 investigations into “fraudulent and unregistered cryptocurrencies,” recovering more than $ 2 billion. Still, IN Wall Street Journal quotes SEC President Gary Gensler as calling the $ 1.7 trillion crypto market the “Wild West” because he has so far worked with limited federal oversight.

[Related: Cryptocurrencies are funding human trafficking, a new government report warns]

With this extension, the SEC seeks to focus on securities law violations arising from the offering of crypto assets, exchanges, lending and betting products, as well as decentralized financial platforms, irreplaceable tokens and stablecoins. As concerns about the link between crypto and crime, including drug and human trafficking, grow, other federal agencies have similarly increased their investment in crypto operations in recent months.

In February, the Federal Bureau of Investigation starts Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit, which will cooperate with the National Cryptocurrency Implementation Team, Ministry of Justice established last fall. According to WSJ, this unit will “provide blockchain analysis, seizure of virtual assets and training to the rest of the FBI.” The overall goal of the team will be to limit the criminal use of these digital assets. The Biden administration directed additional agencies to explore new cryptocurrency policies, regulations and options in a March executive order, which also signaled interest in developing a digital US currency.

The SEC is gearing up to take on crypto crimes

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