What is Cryptocurrency Forensics?

Cryptocurrency Forensics comprises a variety of practices used to find, track, and trace the origins, history, and ownership of cryptocurrency assets by looking at transaction data. It is the equivalent of a forensic accountant for cryptocurrencies; they are often called upon to deliver expert testimony in courts of law. Cryptocurrency forensics involves a close examination of transaction history which can be used to identify fraud, hidden assets, or theft.

Cryptocurrency analytics, on the other hand, involves discovering and interpreting data points to assess past, present and future trends and patterns. For example, increasing transaction volume, price, and search requests for a cryptocurrency may be used to predict price changes in the future.

What is Cryptocurrency Forensics Used For?

Cryptocurrency is a form of money, regardless of whether governments elect to classify it as such or not. Cryptocurrency forensics is used for the same thing traditional forensic accounting is used for including cases involving fraud, money laundering, theft, tax evasion, bankruptcy, divorce, property, embezzlement, terrorist financing, and drug trafficking to name just a few.

Transparency

Forensics wouldn’t exist without transparency and access to data. Forensic accountants dig deep into bank account statements, transaction history, invoices, and money transfers to uncover key information and attempts to obfuscate assets. Forensic accounting for cryptocurrency has some similarities to this. The main difference is that all the transaction history is already freely and publicly available on the blockchain for anyone to see, indefinitely.

For this reason, some would argue that cryptocurrencies are far more transparent than legacy financial systems. This transparency is a crucial aspect allowing cryptocurrency forensics firms to find funds, track transaction history, and demonstrate ownership of crypto assets.

Cryptocurrencies without Transparency

Transparency is also a crucial aspect that makes cryptocurrencies more secure. If cryptocurrencies don’t have public transaction history, how can users be sure no one is cheating the system by spending currency they don’t have? Public transaction history allows users to validate all transactions to ensure users haven’t manipulated the system.

There are a few privacy-focused cryptocurrencies that some would argue have achieved privacy and reduced transparency while maintaining security. However, there are extremely few cryptocurrencies that meet these criteria, and none of them are frequently used. Furthermore, none of the privacy coins is a catch-all solution that will enable individuals to evade detection, although they certainly may help.

Tracking Crypto Assets Yourself

One of the most common ways to track cryptocurrency assets is by using a block explorer. Once you know the applicable cryptocurrency, look up either the wallet address or transaction hash to find more information. Blockchain.com is a great blockchain explorer for Bitcoin, while Etherscan.io is a great blockchain explorer for Ethereum. There are also publicly accessible block explorers for almost all other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Stellar, and XRP.

Forensics Firms

Depending on what you’re attempting to track along with your level of expertise and forensics tools at your disposal, you may want to hire a cryptocurrency forensics firm. Different forensics firms will tend to focus on different types of cases. Right now, most firms like chainalysis are focused on forensics for government and cryptocurrency exchanges to track down large scale money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion on behalf of government agencies. Cryptforensic Investigators only works on certain types of cases, and the aforementioned are not types of cases we take on.

Our Focus Areas

As previously mentioned, there are certain fields and types of cases Cryptforensic Investigators tend to focus on, while there are other fields and types of cases we do not work on. While Divorce and Separation is our largest area of focus, it is not our only focus area.

Types of Cases We Take On
  • Divorce and Separation
  • Child Support
  • Other Family Law Cases
  • Trust and Estate Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Property Law
Types of Cases We Do NOT Take On
  • Money Laundering
  • Terrorist Financing
  • Tax Evasion
  • Commercial Theft
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Ransomware
  • Hacking
  • Extortion
  • Fraudulent ICO’s
Summary

Cryptocurrency accounting is simply forensics accounting for crypto assets. As knowledge and adoption of cryptocurrency increases, it’s likely a lot more firms will arise in the future, as currently there are extremely few.

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