#Finance #Investigation #Security #Technology #Politics

Christina Tkach

Tether's Growing Role in Illegal Activities

Allowing Tether to thrive for years led to new resilience mechanisms. Today, Tether is already in use on five independent blockchains, often dominating their on-chain transactions, and, in some cases, causing network congestion. Current blockchain forensics and market surveillance tools are unable to provide acceptable levels of KYC/AML efficiency.

Tether has been the subject of multiple investigations over the past few years. Most fit in at least one of these categories:

Venezuela is Patient Zero Challenging The Western Financial System with Bitcoin

Venezuela's building a crypto-financial critical infrastructure to evade US sanctions

Global sovereign currencies are regulated and mediated by central banks, with significant tracking and infrastructure capabilities to allow for secure currency transactions, to enforce government policy, and to monitor criminal behavior. These safeguards do not exist with cryptocurrencies, which enable peer-to-peer instantaneous and immutable blockchain transactions. The result: participants can sidestep American controlled transaction mechanisms. Non-state actors can fund illegal operations,…

China Puts Pressure on Crypto Custodians Ahead Of Digital Yuan Release

The latest arrests of crypto senior executives in China showed the government’s determination to crack down on crypto exchanges in the country as their Digital Yuan project is picking up speed.

In the past 3 months, the price of Bitcoin has almost doubled from around $10,500 in October to $24,000 in the middle of December. This was a volatile journey with daily price swings reaching 17.6%. Some of the biggest price changes coincided with troubling news around custodians, ranging from withdrawal suspensions to exploited security vulnerabilities. Interestingly, the market had plenty of warning signs well before the volatility spikes, but very few acted upon them. Let’s have a look at how…

Should Regulators License Blockchain Oracles?

Licensing and endorsing professional oracles is key to improving the overall health of the blockchain ecosystem.

Blockchain oracles, or off-chain data providers, are key players in the blockchain ecosystem - wielding as much if not more power than miners and protocols developers. Often misunderstood and overlooked, they suffer from constant misuse and security vulnerabilities. Licensing and endorsing professional oracles is key to improving the overall health of the blockchain ecosystem.

Crypto in the FinCEN Leak

Inca Digital’s investigation team correlated FinCEN's SARs transactions with blockchain and crypto market venue activity around the filing dates.

Buzzfeed and their partners recently released stories about a trove of almost 2,500 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by banks with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) between 2000 and 2017. They included thousands of suspicious bank transactions totaling over $35B. In cooperation with BuzzFeed, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a dataset that includes detailed information on 4500 suspicious transactions.

Government Orgs Mining Cryptocurrency

Inca’s investigation team looks into digital fingerprints left by digital currency mining software on the web

Almost a decade ago, Torrent trackers looked into their IP logs to find interesting connections coming from a variety of organizations that openly advocate against their right to exist. Some of the reported illegal downloads even revealed a peculiar taste in music of presidential staff. Peer-to-peer file sharing battle lost, the very same organizations turned their sights on other distributed technologies, cryptocurrency mining being one of them. In this piece, Inca’s investigation team looks…