The Biden administration will spare no effort in its crackdown on crime in the digital asset industry, the top cryptocurrency cop in the U.S. government has pledged. Eun Young Choi says the government will not consider a firm’s size in its clampdown and that no firm is too big to fail, a thinly veiled pledge to go after Binance, a company the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently investigating.
The scale of crime related to digital assets has increased significantly over the past four years, Choi told the Financial Times in an interview on Monday.
“I think that is concurrent with the increase of its adoption by the public writ large,” she said.
She intends to target digital asset exchanges facilitating BTC money laundering and other crimes, as well as mixers and tumblers, which have become a hotbed of crime. The DOJ has already issued sanctions against Tornado Cash and Blender.io, two mixers it says were used by Russia and North Korea to launder billions.
“… they’re allowing for all the other criminal actors to easily profit from their crimes and cash out in ways that are obviously problematic to us. And so we hope that by focusing on those types of platforms, we’re going to have a multiplier effect.”
Choi is the Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, a role she assumed in February. Her office heads the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts against BTC crime.
DOJ won’t consider a company’s size or significance in its crackdown, Choi added. Recently, the U.S. and other countries have opened investigations into Binance, leading some to claim that if the exchange fell, the effect on the industry would be far-reaching.
“If a company has amassed a significant market share in part because they’re flaunting U.S. criminal law,” the DOJ cannot “be in a position where we give someone a pass because they’re saying ‘Well, now we’ve grown to be too big to fail,'” she told the outlet.
Besides exchanges and mixers, Choi focuses on hacks and thefts involving decentralized finance (DeFi), particularly chain bridges or new projects with vulnerable code. She also plans to crack down on investment scams which have shot up from $900 million in 2021 to over $2.5 billion last year.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple,
Ethereum, FTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.