Bitcoin appeals to many different people, including the nefarious ones that like the anonymity associated with digital currency. LexisNexis, the company that provides banks with anti-money laundering controls, is aiming to stop the bad guys in their tracks when using bitcoin for illegal activities and is teaming up with London startup Elliptic to do so.
LexisNexis reportedly said it is partnering with Elliptic to create the new service that brings bank-grade control to transactions made in bitcoin. The idea is that it will make the digital currency more appealing to those who want to conduct legitimate transactions and not only for drug traffickers who don’t want to be traced. LexisNexis uses a database of nearly 3 million global entities that could be involved in illicit transactions and shared it with Elliptic, which will monitor bitcoin transactions. It will alert clients, including bitcoin exchanges and U.S. and European intelligence agencies, if money is transferred from a bitcoin address that has been named as a potential bad actor.
“This is a step towards making it [bitcoin] more mainstream and more acceptable,” said Thomas Brown, SVP of U.S. commercial markets and global market development at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, in a report. “Today, if you see bitcoins transacting, you almost assume they’re from someone who wants to be off the grid or they’re proceeds from illicit transactions.”
When it comes to fraud, there have been some high-profile cases that have hurt the adoption rate of bitcoin. There’s the Czech national Thomas Jiikovský, who pled guilty to operating a $150 million Ponzi scheme in what is believed to be the first bitcoin securities fraud case. And then, there was Mark Karpelès, the former bitcoin tycoon, who is in police custody in Japan under charges of fraud and embezzlement for his Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange that went bust. While it’s easy to use bitcoin for no good, a recent report showcased how even bitcoin has a trail that could trip the bad guys up.