To ensure that the Department continues to meet the challenge posed by the illicit use of digital assets, the Criminal Division recently launched the nationwide Digital Asset Coordinators (DAC) Network. The DAC Network is composed of designated federal prosecutors from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide and the Department’s litigating components. Led by the NCET, and in close coordination with CCIPS and the MLARS Digital Currency Initiative, the DAC Network serves as a forum for prosecutors to obtain and disseminate training, technical expertise, and guidance about the investigation and prosecution of digital asset crimes. Each DAC acts as their district’s or litigating component’s subject-matter expert on digital assets, serving as a first-line source of information and guidance about legal and technical matters related to these technologies.
As members of the DAC Network, prosecutors will learn about the application of existing authorities and laws to digital assets and best practices for investigating digital assets-related crimes, including for drafting search and seizure warrants, restraining orders, criminal and civil forfeiture actions, indictments, and other pleadings. The DAC Network will also serve as a source of information and discussion addressing new digital asset forms, such as DeFi, smart contracts, and token-based platforms. In addition, the DAC Network will raise awareness of the unique international considerations of the crypto ecosystem, including the benefits of leveraging foreign relationships and the challenges of cross-border digital asset investigations.
The DAC Network will be a crucial part of the Department’s efforts to continue to address the ever-evolving challenges posed by the illicit use of digital assets, by ensuring that prosecutors receive training, technical expertise, investigative resources, and direct legal guidance for investigations and prosecutions in this area. The DAC Network is modeled on the success of two previously established coordinator programs: the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Network and the National Security Cyber Specialist (NSCS) Network. The Criminal Division established the CHIP coordinator program in 1995 to ensure that each U.S. Attorney’s Office and litigating division has at least one prosecutor who is specially trained on cyber threats, electronic evidence collection, and technological trends that criminals exploit.58 The National Security Division similarly launched the NSCS
Network in 2012 to equip U.S. Attorneys’ Offices “around the Nation with prosecutors trained on national security cyber threats, such as nation-state cyber espionage.”