The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is aiming to crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges that help criminals facilitate money laundering, according to Eun Young Choi, director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), the Financial Times reported on Monday. 

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Fast facts

  • Choi told FT that the agency is targeting crypto exchanges that fail to comply with know-your-customer and anti-money laundering rules.
  • “We hope that by focusing on those types of platforms, we’re going to have a multiplier effect,” said Choi.
  • The DOJ’s head of crypto enforcement said they would also bring more action against investment scams, which refer to scammers building online relationships with their victims, sometimes over a long period of time.
  • Last month, the Justice Department announced seizing US$112 million related to crypto investment schemes, with half of the money seized from Los Angeles.
  • Choi’s department will also focus on decentralized finance hacks, particularly related to cross-chain bridges, which she called a “pretty significant issue” due to the rise of state-sponsored North Korean hacking groups.
  • Crypto hackers stole a record US$3.8 billion in 2022, mostly from cross-chain bridge exploits, according to blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis.

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