Most crypto enthusiasts already know that blockchain has the potential to change the world. Its decentralized nature and massive data storage capabilities mean it could be as powerful a new technology as the internet. But many of blockchain’s most revolutionary qualities—its disconnection from any one central authority, its simultaneous anonymity and security—have also made it one of the favored technologies of the dark web.
Largely hidden from search engines and governmental bodies, the dark web has been used for ethical purposes by some privacy-conscious users but has also facilitated huge, illicit marketplaces dealing in drugs, sex trafficking, money laundering, and even hiring hitmen. Much of the payment going on in these marketplaces is made in cryptocurrencies.
The director of Europol recently estimated that as much as $5.5 billion is being laundered in Europe through cryptocurrencies. A recent Australian study concluded that almost half of all Bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal purchases. CNet recently reported that the illegal use problem is spreading from Bitcoin into other cryptos. As Bitcoin becomes more popular and transactions become slower and more expensive because the network is struggling to handle a massive uptick in use, some criminals are turning to faster currencies, such as litecoin.
Of course, blockchain’s potential is so much greater than simply facilitating shady purchases. A huge number of startups and established companies alike are exploring its use in the worlds of healthcare, clean energy, equal financial access, agriculture, and plenty of other essential global sectors.
But widespread public perception that blockchain is simply a tool for lawbreakers, the immoral, and the corrupt to buy illegal services is holding back the development of the industry. Too many people forego participation in the blockchain revolution because of a hazy (and in some respects, only partially accurate) perception that legitimate financial exchanges are outliers rather than the norm.
Securrency and Blockchain Intelligence Group (or BIG) are teaming up to make sure that cryptocurrency’s future is user-friendly, practical, and—most importantly—legal. When blockchain’s most sophisticated fintech and investigative platforms join forces, change is in the air.
Securrency is a securities trading platform that uses a dedicated crypto—Securrency tokens—to exchange an enormous array of assets, including traditionally illiquid assets and cryptocurrencies. They make it easy to trade an ICO for shares in a real estate investment, or stocks for Japanese Yen, for example.
Securrency’s sophisticated regulatory tech allows them to check KYC/AML compliance and investor accreditation, making them an ideal choice for any traders who want to buy or sell ICO tokens but worry about the SEC’s recent crackdown on some classes of ICO. And their smart contracts mean that all exchanges are both transparent and secure. Because Securrency can handle both old-school financial assets like stocks and bonds and cutting edge ones such as ICOs, it’s an ideal tool for the truly modern investor.
Blockchain Intelligence Group (BIG)
BIG came to be after its founders recognized that the cryptocurrency market had to have mechanisms for protecting ethical investors from getting inadvertently involved in illegal activities.
BIG offers three main groups of product utility: Blockbits, to be launched later in 2018, allows real-time search and analysis of data for companies who need to quickly verify essential business information. QLUE provides a suite of tools for law enforcement and other relevant parties to investigate cryptocurrency crimes. And BitRank provides safety scores for transactions before users commit to them, allowing individuals and companies alike to detect potentially shady transactions and stay in compliance with anti-money-laundering laws.
Both companies are invested in facilitating safe, legal crypto transactions. That’s why they’re bringing BIG’s BitRank Verified software onto the Securrency platform. BitRank will allow Securrency and its users to perform background checks on crypto wallets trying to enter the ecosystem. Bitrank’s proprietary algorithms compile and research blockchain transaction data and identify relationships between different wallets.
Wallets then receive a safety score from 0 to 100 based on this assessment. Under their new partnership, Securrency and its users can use these scores to detect and flag suspicious crypto sources and prevent those funds from entering the transactional sphere. This doesn’t just mean Securrency users can feel good knowing they’re not participating in a trading system supporting laundering or trafficking. In some cases, the combined BitRank/Securrency system can also provide legally mandated pre-transaction proof of source for funds.
The global cryptocurrency market surpassed $700 billion in early January, and it’s likely to only increase as more and more companies explore blockchain solutions to pressing problems. But its true potential can only be unlocked when everyday investors and traders feel confident in the long-term health and principles of the ecosystem. The partnership between Securrency and BIG is an important step forward for creating that healthy and ethical landscape.
How will enhanced background checks for blockchain transactions change the crypto world?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.