After years of working with government agencies leery of bitcoin’s seedy past, the blockchain services firm best known for its bitcoin transaction processing business has decided to take matters into its own hands. Launched today, a number of tools collectively identified as Crystal are intended to make it easy for users to identify and investigate criminal activity on the world’s largest blockchain.
But that’s not to say that the end goal of Crystal is philanthropic.
Developed over a two-year period with feedback from former senior-level government officials, the platform was ultimately created to help bitcoin once and for all move past its association with black market transactions.
The next time potential Bitfury customers balk at getting involved with the cryptocurrency, the CEO of Bitfury Group, Valery Vavilov hopes Crystal will provide a solution.
Vavilov told CoinDesk:
“The industry needs some very user-friendly tools so that you can track bitcoin transactions and see if this bitcoin address that you’re getting money from is green or black.”
Beginning today, a light version of the Crystal software will be made available for free to individuals, with pricing for enterprise subscriptions to be released in March.
The core of the toolkit is a detailed risk scoring solution that helps law enforcement agents and investigators trace suspicious transactions to a final address, or a point of withdrawal. By tracking the relationships between so-called “bad actors,” Crystal will generate a score of the likelihood a particular address is related to illegal activity.
The results of the data analysis are then presented in a visual graph that can be integrated with other software tools and used to prepare legal reports as part of larger investigations.
Other tools enable the autonomous tracking of bitcoin addresses over time, custom reports that can be sent based on predetermined criteria or triggered by transactions between groups and advanced services that include previously revealed technology for “untangling” transactions that have been sent through laundering software, called mixers.
“We are analyzing the web, we are analyzing the forums, we are analyzing different kinds of sources, and combining this information and getting some kind of result if this transaction is risky or not,” said Vavilov.
Untangling from the competition
Overall, Bitfury’s entrance into the bitcoin security space marks the latest expansion for the company, founded in 2012 as a bitcoin mining startup.
As part of a larger push to gain industry adoption of blockchain technology, Bitfury last year entered the blockchain industry more broadly, with the launch of Exonum, its own blockchain infrastructure aimed at enterprise users…