Latest Articles

DHS Pre-Solicitation Explores ‘Forensic Analytics’ for Privacy Coins

Distributed Summary:

  • A document from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security explores the ability to implement blockchain-based forensics and data analysis
  • It singled out the privacy coin platforms Zcash and Monero as ones to analyze
  • Outlines a plan that would yield “commercial or government applications”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun making inquiries into the practicality of tracking privacy coin transactions, according to a pre-solicitation document on its website.

The document came from DHS’ Small Business Innovation Research Program, which listed many potential topics of inquiry for the DHS. Its header noted, “This notice is not a solicitation or Request for Proposals. This notice is merely an opportunity for interested parties to comment on or request information about the attached topic areas.”

Even though the release of this document does not commit the DHS to any concrete action, its interest in tracking privacy coin transactions should raise some alarms for the cryptocurrency space. Specifically, its stated objective is to “design a product to support the implementation of [blockchain-based] forensics, data analysis, and information sharing.”

This proposal also details some of the DHS’ previous, if limited, forays in the space and indicated interest in ways of analyzing privacy-focused cryptocurrency platforms.

“Prior efforts have addressed Bitcoin analytics, which covers only a limited scope within the realm of cryptocurrencies,” the document reads. “This proposal seeks applications of blockchain forensic analytics for newer cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero. And, ongoing research within the field also contributes to new technological implementations and techniques that continue to multiply the specific types of consensus, privacy, security, and proof mechanisms.”

The document went on to further highlight blockchain technology’s “capability for anonymity and privacy protection. While these features are desirable, there is similarly a compelling interest in tracing and understanding transactions and actions on the blockchain of an illegal nature.”

With the federal government likely wary of this capability, the DHS proposal calls for “solutions that enable law enforcement investigations to perform forensic analysis on blockchain transactions,” with the added request that “the desired solution should either attempt to show generality or extensibility, or at least provide working approaches to treating newer blockchain implementations.”

The plan outlines three distinct phases to tamper cryptocurrency’s ability to thwart oversight of transactions, ultimately yielding “commercial or government applications.”

It is uncertain at this point if the DHS will pursue the request to make this analysis ecosystem, but it can be assumed that its specialists are technically competent enough to make one, should this pre-solicitation lead to any formal action.

State Farm Is Testing a Blockchain-Based Subrogation Manager

State Farm announced on December 10 that it is experimenting with a blockchain-based solution for managing the subrogation process in the insurance industry, making the company the latest major enterprise to explore blockchain technology.

LinkedIn Finds Blockchain Developer to Be 2018’s Most Rapidly Growing Job

Distributed Summary:

  • In 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, LinkedIn says blockchain developer hiring grew by 33x
  • Top skills required for the position include Solidity, Node.js, Ethereum and cryptocurrency
  • IBM, ConsenSys and Chainyard are top hirers for the position and SF, NY and ATL the top locations

U.S. Congressman Suggests “Do Blockchain” and “Wall Coins” to Fund Border Wall

Distributed Summary:

  • Ohio State Representative Warren Davidson throws out blockchain-based fundraising to construct wall between U.S. and Mexico border
  • Floats the cryptocurrency name “wall coin” in seemingly offhand remark
  • Demonstrates awareness, if not sophisticated understanding, of blockchain-based fundraising and incentivization

BlockFi, a Cryptocurrency Lending Firm With Credit Card Plans, Receives Funding From Fidelity and Mike Novogratz

Financial services behemoth Fidelity Investments and perennial crypto booster Mike Novogratz have provided funding for BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lending startup.