So Bitfury has given law enforcement and revenue collection agencies the power to scrutinise the Bitcoin blockchain and actually put names to wallet addresses and track transactions going to and from wallets. Revealed on January 30 2018, Bitfury’s blockchain sleuthing tool, named Crystal, was designed to help law enforcement track and determine relationships between “bad actors” (You know, guys like Anonymous, those ransomware jerks, Isis) and help bring about syndicate obliterating busts in the blockchain age.
This incredibly Ghost In The Shell like a piece of technology offers the law a comprehensive view of the Bitcoin blockchain and utilises advanced analytics and data scraping to map suspicious transactions and related entities. It even features a ‘risk scoring’ system to help investigators spot and track not so kosher behaviour and aid financial institutions in compliance and due diligence processes.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies offer serious benefits with regard to speedy and secure value and information transfer from person to person, the issue is that nefarious types could easily leverage the technology plow their unscrupulous trade. Crystal offers a way for the long arm of the law to reach into the blockchain and pull the plug on the rogues.
“Public blockchains have the potential to fundamentally improve our day-to-day lives and be strong forces for social good,” commented Valery Vavilov, CEO of the Bitfury Group, the blockchain technology firm behind Crystal. “Unfortunately, there are people who exploit public blockchains and take advantage of their pseudonymity to commit crimes. Bitfury’s new Crystal tool will make it much easier to identify and track criminal activities on the blockchain. With Crystal, we are taking a critical step toward ensuring that the Bitcoin Blockchain and other public blockchains have a safe and secure future.”
Crystal features a comprehensive toolkit and gathers all information available online in one convenient, user-friendly format. Crystal sifts through blockchain data and analyzes it. Blockchain data is often not linked to a specific entity — especially when it comes to illicit activities. The system even goes beyond the blockchain and gather information the net; Reddit, Bitcointalk, Medium, any site frequented by crypto users, and reveals not only the user’s address but government name as well. All on a user-friendly interface.
Crystal takes a lot of the sweat work out of investigations as it operates autonomously. No need to have a team of data analysts combing through 6 months worth of data. Crystal gets through it in a matter of hours and presents a complete visualisation of transactions and addresses. What’s more, it offers interoperability and can be integrated into other tools.
I’d say the age-old game of cops and robbers has taken to the blockchain, which is great. What is most exciting about this technology is that we might be able to use it to find out who Satoshi Nakamoto is.