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UK watchdog seeks digital currency investigator to address Web3 crimes

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As digital currency crimes continue to rise in the United Kingdom, law enforcement agencies are beefing up their ranks with experts to investigate offenses bordering on the asset class.

In an official job listing, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced its intent to hire six investigators as part of its efforts to create a specialized crime-fighting unit. The new team is expected to operate under the Digital Asset Team or the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU).

Candidates are expected to possess sufficient experience in blockchain, digital currencies, and decentralized finance (DeFi). Individuals with knowledge of recovering BIP and seed phrases will be given priority, with the NCA adding on-chain tracing as a top requirement for the role.

Successful applicants must provide “strategic and tactical advice” in investigations revolving around digital assets. Members of the proposed crime-fighting unit will take the lead in building relationships with industry stakeholders to identify opportunities that will support the investigation of digital currency offenses.

“The role will support existing and new investigations where specialist cryptocurrency experience is required along with taking a proactive lead in identifying targets for further development,” read the job listing.

Compensation for the role is pegged at £42,109, with successful candidates expected to work out of Birmingham, London, and Warrington. Other perks include annual paid leave, a civil service pension commission, and training and developmental opportunities.

This is not the first time the NCA went on a hiring spree for blockchain experts to bolster its ranks. In August, the NCA announced plans to hire four senior investigators for its Complex Financial Crime Team to take the lead on digital currency crimes.

Before the August hiring spree, the NCA confirmed plans to hire financial investigation managers following the launch of a Digital Asset Team in January.

The NCA is keen to clamp down on the increasing reports of digital currency crimes in the U.K. after cybercriminals reportedly made away with nearly $300 million in 2022.

Specialized units to fight digital currency crime

Around the world, law enforcement agencies are becoming aware of the need to establish specialized units to crack down on digital currency offenses. They argue that the borderless and “faceless” nature of digital assets requires new technical skills from investigators to monitor the ecosystem.

Following the intricacies of Terra’s collapse, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office launched the Virtual Asset Joint Investigation Unit to spearhead the investigations of digital currency crimes. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have rolled out specialized teams to increase their monitoring of the digital assets industry.

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