Blockchain forensics firm CipherTrace has developed a mobile tool for flagging bitcoin and ethereum tokens with a criminal past.
Announced today, CipherTrace Scout grants street-level investigators more freedom to identify, track and document illicit crypto transactions from the field, company representatives and law enforcement experts said.
The software builds on a suite of investigatory tools investigators already use. An app-based interface “traces” addresses through the blockchain to identify what coins may have been used by the crypto underworld, in dark market purchases or in ransomware extortion attacks.
Users input an address and CipherTrace Scout generates an instant report. It flags potentially criminal addresses “with a high degree of certainty,” according to Julio Barragan, a financial crime and compliance analyst at CipherTrace.
“You can imagine some beat cop in a high risk area, literally finding something that appears to be tainted,” Barragan said. “He can share a case with an analyst at headquarters and that analyst could do the tracing very quickly to determine where the source of the funds were.”
Casey Bohn, a high-tech crime specialist and educator for the National White Collar Crime Center who trains agents to use CipherTrace, said that the new technology will be of immediate use in the field.
“I think a scenario like this [CipherTrace Scout], where I can put an address in and see: ‘hey, this [address] has been involved in some sort of nefarious activity,’ I think that can be huge,” Bohn, who teaches law enforcement officials how to use tracking services, said. “You can almost rule in and rule out things at that point.”
New Spin on an Old Service