The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom is forming a team that will be responsible for handling issues pertaining to crypto crimes. This group of officials will primarily investigate unethical practices in the industry.
A job advertisement on the government’s website said that there should be a crypto cell that “will be dedicated to a proactive cryptocurrency remit with the right tools and capabilities to target UK-based subjects.”
The establishment of a crypto crime cell comes after the UK experienced a total of $3 billion lost to crypto hacks and scams. It is not surprising that the hacks, which totaled $3 billion, had a significant impact on the UK financial market.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigated and found that this industry has been a major sector that has been contributing heavily to financial scams. Most of these scams happened between March 2021 and April 2022. A total of 432 scams were scrutinized and reported within the aforementioned time period.
A Rise In Crypto Frauds In The UK
The crypto industry has been a breeding ground for a lot of financial frauds of various kinds. The industry has enabled money laundering in huge volumes along with illegal transactions. Of late, the UK has registered an increased number of such crimes.
The team of officials who will be selected for this position of cryptocurrency investigator will be required to provide strategic and tactical advice on how to traverse such fraudulent practices. The officials are expected to have substantial experience in running forensic blockchain investigations pertaining to serious and organized malpractices.
It has been reported that the investigation role of the project is only a part of the virtual assets teams. Additionally, the National Crime Agency’s unit will begin with five officers for the time being.
The government of the UK had moved closer to welcoming the industry in 2022, and then-chancellor Rishi Sunak also mentioned his plans to turn the UK into a “crypto hub.” Despite this, UK officials have remained concerned about how the space has become the “new front line” for criminals.
Later in 2022, MPs passed a bill that gave the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) more power to regulate the industry better.
Increased Crypto Law Enforcement
Chris Lewis-Evans, a manager at the NCA, stated:
Cryptocurrency and virtual assets are widely viewed as specialist areas of knowledge and [the new roles are] key to supporting NCA investigations in which these are used to enable serious criminality.
This industry has been facing an extended downturn which has caused many countries to re-evaluate their regulatory policies. Bitcoin and Ethereum amongst the major market movers have also collapsed in value which has made regulatory bodies prioritize safeguarding consumers from extreme volatility.
Another important event that has wreaked havoc within the industry was the fall of the crypto exchange FTX in November. In light of these recent events, it has become a growing concern for governments to introduce adequate regulatory frameworks for the crypto sector.