The U.S. Justice Department’s top crypto cop said that it was a “pretty significant issue,” given the rise of North Korean “state-sponsored hackers.”
The United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) crypto tsar is cracking down on Decentralized Finance (DeFi) hackers and exploiters amid a four-year rise in illicit crypto activity.
In a Financial Times report published on May 15, Eun Young Choi, director of the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), stated that the department is focusing on thefts and hacks involving DeFi, and “particularly chain bridges.”
Choi said it was a “pretty significant issue” for the DOJ, given North Korean “state-sponsored hackers” have emerged as “key actors in this space.”
The DoJ announced Choi — a prosecutor with nearly a decade of experience in the agency — as the first director of the NCET in February 2022.
At the time, a statement from the department explained that the NCET would serve as a “focal point” for the DOJ in tackling cryptocurrency, cybercrime, money laundering and forfeiture.
While the DOJ highlighted that “mixing and tumbling services” would be a particular focus for the agency, it did not mention anything regarding DeFi platforms at the time.
Choi, who recently spoke at the Financial Times Crypto and Digital Assets Summit, reaffirmed that the DOJ is after crypto firms that either commit the crime or turn a blind eye to “obscure the trail of transactions.“ She noted:
“The DOJ is targeting companies that commit crimes themselves or allow them to happen, such as enabling money laundering.”
She explained that going after the source — the platform itself — will have a “multiplier effect” in terms of making it difficult for “criminal actors to easily profit from their crimes.”
Choi further emphasized the “scale and the scope of digital assets being used in a variety of illicit ways” has grown significantly over the last four years.