US Justice Department Urges More Coordination to Combat Crypto Crime

A new report from the Justice Department responds to this year’s executive order from President Joe Biden, marking some of the first recommendations produced by the order.

AccessTimeIconJun 7, 2022 at 3:11 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:18 p.m. UTC

The U.S. should share more information about crimes tied to cryptocurrency and help build up its overseas partnerships to help combat them, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a report released Tuesday, one of the first responses to President Joe Biden’s executive order mobilizing the federal government to come up with responsible oversight of digital assets.

"Strong international law enforcement cooperation will be essential to best position the United States and its partners to detect, investigate, prosecute, and otherwise disrupt criminal activity related to digital assets, and to overcome the unique obstacles posed by the features of these technologies," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a letter included within the Tuesday report. Garland said his agency is pressing for “expanding our operational and capacity building efforts with international partners; increasing information sharing, coordination, and deconfliction; and closing regulatory gaps across jurisdictions.”

In March, Biden signed the order that directed various government agencies to figure out what problems need to be solved in overseeing crypto and to come back with recommendations to fix them. The order gave the attorney general six months to come back with "a report on the role of law enforcement agencies in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting criminal activity related to digital assets." This response came significantly early.

Building up the resources devoted outside the U.S. "could permit more effective law enforcement information sharing and could ensure the formation of the types of long-term collaborations between law enforcement personnel that can critically advance investigations and prosecutions," according to the report's recommendations, which also suggest direct funding support for foreign partners.

The report additionally pushed for encouraging other countries to adopt emerging standards meant to combat money laundering. Poor systems in many nations present "an opportunity for criminal actors to engage in jurisdictional arbitrage, purposely seeking to further their criminal activities in such jurisdictions."

UPDATE (June 7, 2022, 15:28 UTC): Adds further comment from Attorney General Garland and additional information from the report.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.