Partnership Aims to Curb Bitcoin Usage in Child Pornography

Journalist:
July 6, 2016

Non-profit organization the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and blockchain start-up Elliptic have teamed up to tackle those using the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, to buy child sex abuse images online, the two announced today.

London-based blockchain startup Elliptic has created a unique tool that has the ability to trace any suspicious transaction patterns of Bitcoin. Since its inception, the world of Bitcoin has often been shrouded in mystery and negative publicity due to the fact that it some users choose to buy illegal items online from illegal drugs to child pornography because of the anonymity it provides to buyers.

The tool developed by Elliptic means that they can undertake the task of digging through any suspicious activity before linking transactions together to paint a bigger picture as to where the money is moving.

Who is Elliptic?

Elliptic is a bitcoin-blockchain startup, working with law enforcement agencies and leading Bitcoin companies and exchanges across the globe, tracking transactions on the blockchain, and giving businesses the chance to reduce risk factors through money laundering, theft, and extortion.

Earlier this year CCN reported that the startup had raised over $5 million in a Series A funding round, enabling the company to further strengthen its leading position in blockchain technology and fraud detection.

Joining Forces

The IWF’s aim is to tackle child sex abuse content online, so by joining forces with Elliptic, the two companies will make a formidable pair.

The IWF has a database of child sex abuse sites that are known to the organization as accepting Bitcoin. By teaming up with Elliptic they can now start to figure out where the money is moving, enabling them to pass the information on to law enforcement who can try and track down the criminals behind it.

Speaking to CNBC, deputy CEO of the IWF, Fred Langford, said:

It’s not massively new, but the use of it on child sex abuse sites has been increasing.

In a phone interview with CNBC, CEO of Elliptic, James Smith, said:

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.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): July 6, 2016 12:56

Tags: elliptic