Cambridge Scholars to Develop System for Tracking Stolen Bitcoins

Mansoor Ahmed, Ilia Shumailor and Rose Anderson, three students from Cambridge University are developing a Tatachain system that will be able to track stolen Bitcoins. The trio recently released a paper titled, “Tendrils of Crime”, which focuses on how the taint created during transactions can be used to trace the movement of stolen Bitcoins.

Illegally Obtained Money is Laundered with Cryptocurrency

The scholars in their paper revealed that about 3 to 4 percent of illegally obtained money is laundered using cryptocurrencies. In the same vein, $761 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen within the first six months in 2018. The group has attributed this crime rate to the unregulated nature of the market, and the anonymity created during transactions.
Despite these attacks on susceptible wallets, the trio is hopeful that it is possible to trace stolen Bitcoins back to its source. In their opinion, implementing the First-in First-out (FIFO) rule makes this possible. It was also outlined that this principle has been employed in the past to solve court issues relating to bankruptcy.

FIFO Principle to Track Bitcoin to its Sources

FIFO, on the other hand, holds that if the first set of coins into the wallet are stolen, then the first set to leave the wallet was probably stolen as well. Therefore, the group refers to it as a Tatachain, where the source of the stolen coin is traced to all the wallets holding it and vice versa. This will enable a potential buyer to know where their digital assets originated from, says the paper.
The group also stated that so far, they have implemented Tatachain on 56 known thefts and their addresses. Some instances which were cited are the case of 46,653 Bitcoins which were stolen in 2012 and 896 stolen Bitcoin from 2014.

Cryptopia also Faces Cyber Attack Leading to Loss of Funds

If the trio’s system is successful, then it may help to combat the level of crime in the crypto industry. Of recent, Cryptopia, a New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange was hacked, and its administrators revealed that a significant amount was stolen. Binance, on the other hand, an exchange which some of the funds were later sent to, froze it.
Asides from virtual currency exchanges, individuals are also losing their funds to this crime. BTCNN on January 9 reported of a launch of a website to create an awareness of SIM swapping. The latter is an impersonation of a user where the actor behind the crime hijacks their phone number to steal their social identity or cryptocurrencies.

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