What happens to crypto assets used for nefarious activities after authorities seize them? A new Chainalysis program helps sort through the rubble.
In the 11 years since the inception of the crypto industry, malicious parties have used digital assets for a spate of illegal activities, from drug payments to money laundering. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis is launching a new service to help authorities track, custody and sell cryptocurrencies associated with crime after their capture. The firm calls the initiative its Asset Realization Program.
"Chainalysis created an end-to-end solution for track and trace, pre-seizure planning, handling, storing, realising, and monitoring assets seized by law enforcement," Chainalysis EMEA general manager, Duncan Hoffman, told Cointelegraph.
With its new program, Chainalysis aims to help clients in a number of ways, including filing and selling confiscated digital funds, bringing closure to the once-illegally-used assets and legally flowing them back into the ecosystem, based on Hoffman's comments.
A number of minor and high-profile crimes have involved cryptocurrencies in recent years, including hacks, terrorist financing and other events.
Most recently, nearly $1 billion of crypto funds connected with Silk Road, an infamous drug operation shut down seven years ago, moved wallet address locations. The United States Department of Justice, or DoJ, subsequently filed to wrest control of the funds from an identified hacker, which explains the wallet address move. Chainalysis worked with authorities on the case, according to a statement from Chainalysis provided to Cointelegraph.
Chainalysis' Asset Realization Program targets usage by government agencies, as well as insolvency practitioners — players that represent insolvent entities — although the program is also open to other interested folks.
As part of the initiative, Chainalysis teamed up with Asset Reality, a company already working in the confiscated asset niche. The firm will work with Chainalysis on multiple processes, including the sale of confiscated funds.
Governments have stepped up their engagement with crypto in 2020, getting more confident in enforcement.