CipherTrace, a top crypto intelligence, and data analytics firm, has become an invaluable partner in governments’ aim to track illicit crypto transactions. This week, the company stepped up its contribution to crime reduction by providing tips on how government officials can identify crypto usage in their investigations.
In a recently-published report, CipherTrace explained that crypto use in criminal activity appears to be on the rise. To make its point, the firm noted that raids from the United States Treasury Department had yielded a decreasing amount of cash from 2013. This suggests that crypto usage has ramped up – a problem that would make investigations and enforcement more difficult.
Besides the fact that crypto transactions are difficult to trace independently, the blockchain forensics firm also pointed out that many government officials seem unaware of what to look for when they make investigations. To wit, the firm laid out several smoking guns that could point to a criminal’s use of digital assets.
In its report, CipherTrace urged law enforcement officials to check any confiscated devices for crypto-related apps. Investigators are encouraged to look through browser histories, bookmarks, and specific apps. These include crypto ATM apps, exchanges, and wallets.
Investigators will also have to check trash cans and pieces of paper lying around, as they could contain Bitcoin ATM receipts and wallet recovery phrases. However, catching seed phrases won’t be easy as they can easily be hidden in planners, books, and other inconspicuous areas.
Along with seed phrases, things like hardware wallets and other physical custody deices could be hiding in plain sight. As CipherTrace notes:
“The signs of cryptocurrency use can be easily overlooked by investigators; hardware wallets can look like inconspicuous USB sticks and recovery seeds are just random words on a page.”
While the company understands the challenge of finding these clues, it urges investigators to be vigilant when searching for evidence of crypto use.
Crypto-elated crime is currently on the upsurge. CipherTarce reported that ill-gotten funds siphoned through these crimes hit $1.4 billion in the first half of the year, with the number set to hit record levels when 2020 rounds out. This increase in crypto crime has made the government warier of digital assets.
Beyond just lending useful insights to government officials on tracing criminal activity, CipherTrace has also helped in the field. In August, the company signed a contract with the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, where it developed a tool for investigators to trace Monero-based transactions.
Monero is currently gaining repute amongst criminals for its privacy and anonymity. However, CipherTrace is relatively confident that its tool can help a great deal with curbing its use. Dave Jevans, the company’s chief executive, explained that they had been developing the tool for over a year, and that it was relatively advanced. He added that the contract signed wasn’t a one-off, adding that they will be working on other products in the future.
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Ripple Exploring Prototype Use Cases for XRP, Maps Out Vision for Future of Crypto Ecosystem
Ripple is launching a fresh hiring spree for its investment and development arm, RippleX, offering new insight into how the company plans to develop the XRP ecosystem.
Previously called Xpring, RippleX is a newly rebranded division of the San Francisco payments startup. Headed by Ripple executive Monica Long, the division is focused on boosting the adoption of Ripple’s native asset, XRP, with a focus on supporting developer efforts to build on the XRP Ledger and expand the digital asset’s use cases beyond the world of remittances.
Ripple is currently hiring a senior software engineer, a director of engineering, a director of developer relations and a technical partner/program manager, all for RippleX.
The job advertisement for the senior software engineer post reveals the San Francisco startup is exploring prototype use cases for XRP.
“RippleX aims to build a robust ecosystem of third-party developers, projects and companies that build, grow and monetize their applications on XRP, Interledger Protocol [ILP] and other blockchain technologies.
RippleX has built technologies like ILP, that enables sending money in any currency and any amount to be as easy, fast and inexpensive as sending information across the internet; PayID, which enables interoperability between payment networks; and toolkits and API’s in several languages that enable developers to build on top of the XRP ecosystem…
Support and create tools and services that surprise and delight our community of developers. Prototype new use cases or experiences using Interledger and/or XRP”
In addition, the job ad for the director of developer relations post shines the spotlight on boosting RippleX adoption.
“You will be joining a fast-moving team focused on driving adoption and growth of the RippleX platform, with the aim of developing a thriving, active global community of developers around XRP/XRPL.
In this role, you will function as the crucial link between external technical teams and our internal product development and growth teams. The ideal candidate has the ability to effortlessly toggle between technical and product GTM initiatives, and the versatility to move between strategies and operations with ease.”
The director of developer relations also emphasizes Ripple’s need to support its developer community.
“As Director of Developer Relations, you will develop and lead initiatives to engage, support, enable, and grow the global XRP community of developers around XRPL, by being their advocate and communicating their needs to our internal product and engineering teams. We believe technology should be incredibly easy to use, with a frictionless product experience that drives clear utility.”
World Economic Forum Wants to Study Blockchain and Crypto
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has collaborated with the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) to launch a new initiative assessing the state of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Dubbed the Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI), it will determine the industry landscape by examining a few distinctive areas.
According to the announcement from earlier today, the GSMI is the brainchild of the WEF and the GBBC. Other prominent partners include Accenture, Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab, Global Digital Finance, Hyperledger, ING, The Linux Foundation, and “other global entities.”
The initiative’s primary purpose is to “map and assess the current blockchain and digital asset state” by exploring three areas. Those include the current technical standards, legislation and guidance released by sovereign and international bodies, and industry best practices and standards.
The GSMI catalogs output from over 30 technical organizations, 185 jurisdictions, and nearly 400 industry groups. By evaluating the landscape, the group will synthesize critical trends and provide “action-oriented guidance for the public- and private-sector actors.”
The organizations are keen to keep the entire process as transparent as possible by allowing anyone to have complete access to the reports and resources. Their intention is to “serve as a resource for the blockchain community and beyond as we look to develop thoughtful frameworks and standards to propel the industry forward.”
Chief Executive Officer of the GBBC Sandra Ro highlighted the rapid growth the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries have experienced in the past few years. As such, she believes that the field requires a more comprehensive tool to keep track of all developments in different sectors.
“There has been a strong demand signal for a catalog of standards-related activity that could serve as a cornerstone for facilitating responsible deployment and interoperability.
We were excited to collaborate with the Global Blockchain Business Council and members of our Blockchain Council to create this open resource that can be used by the ecosystem, policy-makers, and beyond, to inform their approach to the technology and standards moving forward.” – commented Head of Blockchain at the World Economic Forum, Sheila Warren.
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