So you’ve heard about Bitcoin and how you can buy items online anonymously using the Darkweb’s most popular digital currency? Well – you’re not alone. Bitcoin has taken over the seedy underground of the deepweb as pedophiles and hipster drug pushers alike flock to the digital gold like birds of a feather.
According to a story published in the Guardian today, it seems a planetary wave of cyber crime is funneling into the cryptocurrency.
A pan-European drive to use the financial system to fight online child abuse has succeeded in reducing sales of child abuse material using conventional payment systems – but research suggests that abusers have been driven underground, turning to anonymiser technologies to evade law enforcement, and bitcoin to pay for material.
Thankfully, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges are working with law enforcement agencies to quietly track customer activity and share collected intelligence (blockchain data). These efforts could help rout out sexual offenders and make bitcoin the safest, most traceable, trackable, and eventually the most secure payment system ever created.
The EFC (European Financial Coalition) along with the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) are among those reportedly working with exchanges:
The IWF said it was working with several of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges to share intelligence and develop strategies for preventing the currency being used by distributors of child sexual abuse images.
The best approach as identified by these reports is to use Bitcoin exchanges to identify suspicious transactions in order to follow the money back to the abuser, and prioritizing the identification of individuals who have access to children.
If we all work together, we can help the exchanges stamp out Bitcoin crime by reporting suspicious activity observed in our local communities. You could think of it as a “Bitcoin Crime Stoppers” type of effort.
There are several things you should be on the lookout for, including neighbors using large amounts of power (bitcoin mining), plain unlabeled postal packages (bitcoin drugs), and older men lucking about playgrounds alone (bitcoin pedos).
Could community crime watch programs help turn the tide? Will the exchanges catch the bad apples using bitcoin? Log in below using your favorite social network to weigh in on the discussion.