For quite some time now, there have been rumors circulating on the Internet about so-called Bitcoin “task forces” which are created to track down illegal or suspicious activities on the blockchain. A leaked screenshot of a recent arrest made in California shows how these task forces are very real. Although it is not difficult to track the origin and destination of just about any bitcoin transaction on the blockchain, law enforcement agencies are stepping up their game by the look of things.

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Task Forces Are Tracking Bitcoin Transactions In Real-Time

TheMerkle_Homeland Security Bitcoin Task Force

People who have nothing to hide should not be worried about these so-called Bitcoin task forces, as there is nothing illegal in what most people are using this modern digital currency for. Internet criminals, however, might want to think twice before accepting Bitcoin payments from now on, as it looks like law enforcement is catching up with the rise in popularity of this modern digital currency.

The blockchain is as transparent as a payment ledger has ever been, as anyone in the world can track a transaction from source to destination in real-time. However, that does not mean just anyone can link an identity to a specific wallet address as that kind of information is off-limits to everyday consumers and enterprises.

Law enforcement agencies – especially Homeland Security – on the other hand, seem to have access to specific tools that will let them monitor Bitcoin transactions and link it to personal behavior. Although the exact details of how this would work, remain shrouded in mystery for the time being, a recent police report shows how one man was arrested for selling drugs on the darknet, and one law enforcement official tracked him down based on his Bitcoin activity.

The report also mentions how a combination of surveillance and public records were used to find the home address of this individual. Although users need to install Tor before they can access the darknet, that technology has been breached by the FBI – in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University – not too long ago. By the look of things, law enforcement agencies still have some access to Tor, which allows them to obtain sensitive information about its users.

Despite the media thinking internet criminals prefer bitcoin payment options for their anonymity, it looks like that scenario is coming to an end. Now that dedicated Bitcoin task forces are a real thing, any shred of anonymity associated with digital currency has just evaporated.  Granted, not everyone will be caught, but the risk factor has increased by a significant margin.

Source: Department of Justice

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