Nearly 100 Publicly Disclosed Crypto-Related Investigations Conducted Last Year, Report Reveals

In 2022, several notable federal indictments, sentences, and seizures related to cryptocurrency were “made public in the United States,” the CertiK team noted.

To understand the extent and nature of government activity in Web3, CertiK has conducted research and analysis “on the state of federal and regulatory crypto investigations in 2022.”

The investigation of civil and criminal suits “relating to cryptocurrency are an important part of CertiK‘s mission to secure the Web3 world.”

CertiK compiled “all publicly available data on crypto investigations from various law enforcement and regulatory agencies for 2022.” It is worth noting “that the scope of the data collected is limited to investigations that have been publicly disclosed, as many investigations remain sealed and are not announced.”

According to the data, there “have been a total of 96 publicly disclosed crypto-related investigations in 2022.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was “responsible for the largest share of these cases, with 42 investigations, representing 43.3% of the total.” The United States Secret Service (USSS) was “the second-highest contributor, with 20 cases, or 20.6% of the total.”

It is worth noting “that the data may include some cases that involved interagency collaboration.”

The disclosed status and outcome of crypto-related investigations “varied among the different law enforcement and regulatory agencies.” Most investigations “resulted in charges and indictments, and some law enforcement agencies also announced seizures and sentences for their investigations.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which are regulatory agencies, “only announced charges and indictments, as they handle civil charges that do not follow the same legal process as law enforcement agencies.”

The high number of charges and indictments in 2022 “suggests that we may see sentences issued in 2023 for defendants who have pleaded or are found guilty in these cases.”

It is important to note “that the legal process can be complex and that the outcome of an investigation may not always be immediately known.” By staying informed about the latest developments in crypto-related government investigations, we can “gain a better understanding of the state of Web3 and the efforts being made to combat illicit activity in the space.”

The data compiled by CertiK shows “a significant increase in the number of crypto investigations conducted and publicly disclosed by U.S. federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies from 2021 to 2022.”

Specifically, there “was a 81% increase in the total number of investigations, with 53 publicly released cases in 2021 compared to 96 cases in 2022.”

This trend is important to note, as it “suggests that efforts to combat illicit activity in the Web3 space are increasing.” It is likely “that this upward trend will continue in the coming years, given the ramp-up of law enforcement and regulatory efforts in this area.”

The increase in crypto investigations “is significant for a number of reasons.”

One contributing factor is “the increased efforts and funding by law enforcement agencies toward thee formation and support of cryptocurrency task forces.” For example, the FBI launched “its crypto task force in February 2022, and the number of disclosed cases doubled from 20 in 2021 to 40 in 2022.”

Similarly, the USSS “launched a cryptocurrency awareness hub in February 2022, and the number of disclosed cases also doubled from 9 in 2021 to 20 in 2022.”

To fully comprehend the scope of crypto-related cases in the United States, it is crucial to understand “the roles and responsibilities of different federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies.”

These agencies “have different jurisdictions and capabilities, and their investigations may be conducted in different ways.” By gaining a deeper understanding of these factors, we “can better comprehend the overall state of crypto investigations in the U.S.”

It is worth noting that, “in addition to federal agencies, there are also state and local law enforcement agencies that are also be involved in crypto-related investigations.”

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