The National Crime Agency has established a crypto unit to combat fraudulent activity using digital assets.
In response to increased activity by law enforcement in the crypto currency field, the primary agency for combating criminal activity in the United Kingdom is establishing a new section to go after crypto criminals.
In the beginning, the "crypto cell" of the National Crime Agency will consist of five officers who are dedicated to a "proactive cryptocurrency remit." The decision indicated an "increased focus" on crypto assets.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) is reportedly looking for officers with specialized experience in the industry to join a "new project that will form a specialized cryptocurrency and virtual assets team," as stated in an online job advertisement (1).
Increasing Crypto Crime
Crime in the crypto currency realm reached record levels in 2018, even though the crypto currency industry has been criticized for a long time for facilitating fraudulent activity, money laundering, and illegal transactions.
According to Action Fraud, which is the official reporting system for fraud and cybercrime in the UK, the total amount of money that was lost due to crypto currency fraud in the UK increased by a third in 2022. According to the organization's findings, con artists took £226 million from investors in the fiscal year that ended on September 30.
In December, the incoming chair of the Financial Conduct Authority, Ashley Alder, told members of parliament that crypto currency companies were being "deliberately evasive," that they enabled large-scale money laundering, and that they posed a "massively untoward risk."
Nevertheless, in 2022 the government took action to show its support for the industry. In April, the previous chancellor, Rishi Sunak, expressed the hope that the United Kingdom will develop into a "crypto hub." In the H2 of the year, the House of Commons unanimously approved a bill that bestows more regulatory authority upon the Financial Conduct Authority.
This came about as a result of a steep drop in the prices of crypto currencies such as bitcoin and ether, which, in turn, failed several prominent corporations throughout the industry, one of which was the crypto currency exchange FTX in November.
Money Laundering Is the Top Crypto Crime
The National Crime Agency's (NCA) annual report (2), released on July 19, named money laundering through crypto assets as one of the factors causing harm to the economy of the United Kingdom.
A manager at the National Crime Agency named Chris Lewis-Evans stated that the team would be "at the forefront of protecting the UK from cybercrime."
"Cryptocurrency and virtual assets are widely regarded as specialist areas of knowledge, and [the new roles are] essential to supporting NCA investigations into instances in which these are used to enable serious criminality,"
Crypto currency was discovered to be the most common target of financial scams in the United Kingdom between March and April 2022, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) findings. During that period, the regulatory body started 432 investigations into possibly fraudulent activities involving crypto currencies.
Once Rishi Sunak was raised to Prime Minister by representatives of the Conservative party in late October, there was a supposition that this could mean that the United Kingdom was going to be on the path toward more crypto-friendly laws under his leadership term.