The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is set to form a new team with a remit to proactively investigate cryptocurrency crime, dubbed the National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) Crypto Cell.
The initial team will be made up of five officers based within its existing NCCU, the NCA confirmed to Decrypt.
Per a recent job filing, the government body will look to support existing and new investigations where specialist cryptocurrency experience is needed and will take a “proactive lead” in identifying potential targets for further investigation.
A spokesperson for the NCA noted that the crime prevention body’s interest in stopping crypto crime “is not a new thing,” however, the formation of this new unit does “signal an increased focus” on policing crypto assets.
The spokesperson added the NCA has already been regularly involved in investigations relating to crypto assets, due to their prevalence in the world of cybercrime.
Successful candidates, who will be expected to have a background in blockchain forensic investigation, have until January 10 to apply for the new role.
If successful, the candidates can expect a salary of between $48,200 and $52,400.
UK ramps up crypto policing
The news comes as the UK has been ramping up the power of its public sector to rein in the potential of cryptocurrencies to fuel illicit activity.
In September, the UK Parliament introduced the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which increased the police force's powers over cryptocurrencies as part of an effort to “bear down on kleptocrats, organized criminals and terrorists abusing the UK’s open economy.”
According to its most recent annual report, the National Crime Agency seized almost £27 million ($33 million) worth of crypto assets in the 2021-22 financial year, up from zero in 2020-21.