Bitcoin Payers for Online Child Porn will be caught by NGO & Blockchain start-up

With the aim of combating the use of bitcoin to buy child sex abuse images online, the not for profit organization – the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has teamed up with blockchain start-up Elliptic.

This was recently announced by the two entities earlier this week.

From illegal drugs to child pornography, the cryptocurrency bitcoin is often used to purchase illicit items online due to the anonymity it affords buyers.

But now a tool which can trace suspicious transaction patterns of bitcoin due to the open nature of the cryptocurrency platform has been developed by a London-based start-up – Elliptic. This start up raised $5 million earlier this year for this purpose.

Blockchain – a public ledger of activity records all forms and types of bitcoin transactions. The program – Elliptic is able to provide an idea of where the money is moving and which payments are linked after it manages to trawl through the blockchains to identify suspicious activity and then can use this to link transactions together.

With the purpose of identifying activity such as money laundering, drug sales, extortion and theft, Elliptic works with law enforcement agencies as well as many of the top U.S. and European bitcoin exchanges – the entity that processes transactions in the cryptocurrency.

Combating child sex abuse content online is the mission of the IWF. Apart from regularly trawling through the net looking for illegal content, the not for profit organization does the above through active participation and tips from members of the public who come across an illicit website. The organization has however noticed that an increasing number of sites accept bitcoin as a method of payment for child porn even though the organization regularly reports their findings to the police.

“It’s not massively new, but the use of it on child sex abuse sites has been increasing. Most of the sites we are seeing taking bitcoin payments are not on the a dark web, people on the open web abusing cloud services to host their commercial entities, and they take bitcoin,” Fred Langford, deputy CEO of the IWF told CNBC.

The IWF has now gathered and amassed together a big database that contains information about those sites that sell child sex abuse and accept bitcoin as the payment currency. To figure out exactly where the money is moving, this database of the organization can be integrated with Elliptic’s technology. The information can be used by law enforcement to try and track down the criminals when a picture of transactions is built up.

“Sometimes payments are made for things like images for bitcoin, and they have bitcoin addresses that link to child abuse. So they have got quite a useful database of information and we have integrated that with our system so we can identify any bitcoin activity that has links to those known websites,” James Smith, CEO of Elliptic, told CNBC.

(Adapted from CNBC)



Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal

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