The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has created a dedicated unit to curb virtual assets crime worldwide after a series of attacks rocked the industry.
Interpol made the announcement at a press conference ahead of its 90th general meeting scheduled for October 19-21 in Delhi, India. The meeting will be attended by high-ranking police chiefs from its 195 member states, with virtual currency policing a central theme in the discussions.
“Major developments in technology, internet of everything and digitization – as a result of cryptocurrency – pose a challenge to law enforcement, because very often they (agencies) are not properly trained and properly equipped from the beginning,” says Jürgen Stock, Interpol ‘s secretary general. .
The decentralized nature of digital assets and their ability to circumvent existing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations has been a source of headaches for law enforcement agencies worldwide. Furthermore, the use of decentralized exchanges and mixers has exacerbated the problems for security outfits in their efforts to detect bad actors.
Praveen Sinha, Special Director of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, noted that the way out of the debacle Interpol is currently facing is through “international cooperation, coordination, trust and real-time information sharing.” To this end, a dedicated task force comprising member states will be constituted to police the virtual asset industry from a global perspective.
Interpol has previously waded into the digital asset fugitive ecosystem by issuing a “red notice” against Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon. Interpol was also involved in the massive search for Ignatova Rajatova, founder of OneCoin who defrauded investors of billions of dollars between 2015 and 2017.
The international policing agency also partnered with cybersecurity firm Trend Micro to crack down on the activities of hackers in Southeast Asia and undertook research with S2W Lab to track virtual asset activity on the dark web.
Other jurisdictions are setting up specialized outfits to regulate virtual currencies
Regulators around the world are realizing that dedicated teams can be key to understanding and controlling the digital asset industry. For example, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has created a new team known as the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) and appointed Eun Young Choi as its first director.
“The NCET will serve as the focal point for the department’s effort to address the growth of crime involving these technologies,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the DOJ’s criminal division.
To understand the terrain, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it will increase the size of the newly named Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to 50 dedicated positions, which according to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler equips the Commission to “ police violations in the crypto markets.”
See: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention panel, Cybersecurity: A Safer World with Blockchain
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