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Ensuring the law is not bitten by Bitcoin

By David Balaban - posted Friday, 21 October 2016

Bitcoin is just the first app to use the Blockchain. Soon there will be others squeezing the most they can out of Blockchain.

Back in the 90s when the Internet first became widespread, no one would possibly have imagined that it would breed Facebook, Google, Uber, online streaming, etc.

This is where we are with the Blockchain now. There exists a whole world of opportunities out there.


In order to realize that potential, it's critical that law enforcement has the ability to chase down the individuals who use the Blockchain to break the law. We need to craft a Blockchain that is secure for legal commerce and is to the advantage everybody except criminals.

Although the Blockchain is revolutionary, it is really only the latest illustration of how law enforcement needs to innovate and adapt to new technologies.

Law enforcement agencies have a lengthy history of changing their procedures to pursue criminals who make use of the latest technology to commit crimes. Law enforcement managed to do it when pagers and fax machines were invented. The law has always found a way to evolve to address new tech challenges.

Knowing that, you could hardly say that Blockchain presents a unique problem to law enforcement.

With Blockchain still being in the embryonic stage, we have the opportunity to make it much easier for law enforcement to understand it better. At the same time, we need to implement improvements to make the Blockchain safer for commerce while making it harder for criminals to use.

Blockchain challenges


There are aspects of Bitcoin that make it difficult for the law to stay on top of. Law enforcement must interact with international partners who have their unique polices that makes it hard to work together.

It's tough to identify a user from a Bitcoin address. Being able to attribute a person to a virtual crime is the biggest challenge when investigating any cyber-crime. Prosecutors are trying to pin a certain IP or MAC address, or an email address, to a particular person. It's harder to do if someone is using multiple IP addresses, TOR, proxy, etc.

One more problem is that most email providers can't, nor is there any need to, validate the data their users give them. It is the issue with cell phone companies too.

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About the Author

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Balaban

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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