The Japanese National Police Agency is reportedly installing a system to track the flow of crypto transactions in order to aid investigations of cryptocurrency-related cybercrime. The system is expected to be limited to major cryptocurrencies, according to local media.
Tracking Crypto Transactions
Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) announced on August 30 that it “has mapped out a policy to introduce software next fiscal year to visualize the transaction history of virtual currencies in the face of increasing money laundering, massive theft and other cases related to cryptocurrencies,” the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
“Traditionally, many criminal offenses concerning virtual currencies involve transactions via multiple accounts,” Fisco news outlet conveyed, adding that the police “had to trace [an] enormous [amount of] records during investigations.” Elaborating on the new crypto tracking system, the publication described:
The service target is limited to major currencies such as bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), and it is expected to be available for use by the National Police Agency, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the Osaka Prefectural Police Department next fiscal year.
About the Software
According to Nikkei, the National Police Agency put in its budget request for 2019 an estimated 2.7 billion yen (~US$24.3 million) to address cybercrime threat, including those targeting cryptocurrencies.
NHK noted that the agency plans to add an estimated 35 million yen (~$315,203) to the budget request “for the related expenses necessary for the introduction of [the] software.”
Reiterating that “the software can extract transaction data needed for an investigation from an enormous volume of data, making cyber investigations more effective,” the Yomiuri Shimbun elaborated:
The special software developed by a private company can extract transaction data needed for investigations. The software can also show information of virtual currency exchange operators, information that is not found in blockchain databases.
Nikkei further commented that “by making it possible to trace the flow of transactions in a bird’s-eye view,” the software can be used “to investigate crimes that virtual currency entangles.”
According to the National Police Agency, the system will help with the speed and efficiency of investigating crypto-related crimes including fraud and money laundering.
The agency revealed in February that there were 669 cases of “suspicious transactions” reported to the government by crypto exchanges from April to December last year.
In March, the agency released its annual statistics relating to cryptocurrency for the first time, showing 149 cases of hacking attempts to individual cryptocurrency accounts last year. The total damage caused by unauthorized remittances was 662.4 million yen (~$5,965,441), Nikkei reported. Funds were stolen from 16 companies including crypto exchanges and three wallet providers.
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