Washington, May 4 (IANS) Keeping the rising cryptocurrency scams in mind, the US has nearly doubled its cryptocurrency enforcement division, adding another 20 positions to the ‘Cyber Unit’.
The total number of staff will now rise from 30 to 50.
By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement late on Tuesday that it will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and controls issues with respect to cybersecurity.
“The Division of Enforcement’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit has successfully brought dozens of cases against those seeking to take advantage of investors in crypto markets,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.
Since its creation in 2017, the Cyber Unit has brought more than 80 enforcement actions related to fraudulent and unregistered crypto asset offerings and platforms, resulting in monetary relief totalling more than $2 billion.
The expanded Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will leverage the agency’s expertise to ensure investors are protected in the crypto markets including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“Crypto markets have exploded in recent years, with retail investors bearing the brunt of abuses in this space. Meanwhile, cyber-related threats continue to pose existential risks to our financial markets and participants,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“The bolstered Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be at the forefront of protecting investors and ensuring fair and orderly markets in the face of these critical challenges,” Grewal added.
Cryptocurrencies and digital assets will be the top investor threat in 2022 and before you jump into the crypto craze, be mindful that cryptocurrencies and related financial products may be nothing more than public facing fronts for the Ponzi schemes and other frauds, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
Cryptocurrency scammers netted $7.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency from victims in 2021, an 81 per cent rise in losses compared to last year.
According to Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, nearly $1.1 billion of the $7.7 billion were attributed to a single scheme which allegedly targeted Russia and Ukraine.