The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed the creation of a new unit with 150 prosecutors to combat crimes related to blockchain-based assets.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, DoJ officials said they have shifted their attention to combat crypto crimes and the usage of digital assets in money laundering and terror financing. To do so, a new unit called Digital Asset Coordinators Network has been formed.

The DoJ had earlier created another division, called the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which was headed by cybersecurity prosecutor Eun Young Choi.

Choi said the new unit of prosecutors was formed because prosecution of crypto-related cases required a high level of technical knowledge and there was a significant surge in the popularity of digital assets and crimes related to them.

"Digital-asset crimes are truly multidisciplinary. They are cross-border, complex, and challenging investigations, and they require a certain level of competency," Choi added.

The new unit has been tasked with hunting down crypto scammers, hackers and other criminals and bringing them to justice. The team will also educate other branches of the government on the environmental impacts of cryptocurrencies and taxation aspects.

The DoJ has been relatively active in the crypto space since the 2021 crypto market boom. The department seized about $500,000 in ransom payments and cryptocurrencies from hackers backed by the North Korean government in July. DoJ Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said it was a "monumental victory" for the law enforcement authority.

The DOJ logo is pictured on a wall after a news conference in New York