The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has signalled a crackdown on cryptocurrency fraud with the launch of a new cyber-crime unit.
The Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit will be part of the watchdog’s Division of Enforcement.
It will start with an initial 30 strong workforce but the plan is to expand this to 50 dedicated staff focused on protecting investors in crypto markets from cyber threats.
The employees, which include lawyers and fraud analysts as well as cyber security experts, will be based in Washington.
“The US has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.
The US regulator is following the lead of other national regulators, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has sought to both raise awareness among investors of crypto-related fraud as well as recruit more resources to enforce its new and existing rules for crypto firms.
According to a statement, the new division will investigate securities law violations related to crypto asset offerings, digital asset exchanges, crypto asset lending and staking products, DeFi platforms, non-fungible tokens and stablecoins.