Bigg Digital Assets (BIGG.C) shines a light on the dark web

Bigg Digital Assets (BIGG.C) subsidiary Blockchain Intelligence Group signed a three-year, $350,000, deal with a European-based virtual currency wallet provider for the company’s BitRank and QLUE programs today.

The programs will allow the wallet provider to track the flows of Bitcoin through every point throughout the coin’s career, making specific note of any locations of interest to law enforcement. This way, everyone from companies to end users can rest assured of the ethical use of the coins under their purview.

“On the back of our recent US Government agency contract, we are thrilled to welcome another client to our global customer list. The value of big data, which is at the heart of BitRank and QLUE, continues to be recognized by companies involved in the blockchain and crypto ecosystem for their safety and security. We look forward to providing more customer acquisition updates as our business and revenue stream expands,” said Lance Morginn, president of BIG.

Hell is empty and all the devils are here

The necessity of the dark web started, as most of these technologies will, with the best of intentions.

The dark web can be loosely thought of as the space between the web sites—and perhaps a little less poetically—as websites unavailable to search engines, accessible via IP address alone and often invite only. It was the home of privacy advocates, whether they are Chinese protesters promoting democracy on the sly or Americans hiding their internet activities from the NSA, can find a place on the so-called dark web through the use of onion encryption.

Most people, though, are only aware of the dark web because of the negative press—all of which is valid. The truth about the deep web is the same privacy protections it offers to legit users, it also offers to criminals. It facilitates a growing underground marketplace that tech savvy criminals use to traffic in drugs, stolen identities, child porn and other nasty products.

And the currency of the realm is Bitcoin.

Once upon a time it was considered untraceable, but not anymore.

According to BIGG’s website,

QLUE (an acronym for Qualitative Law Enforcement Unified Edge) is an investigative solution developed in partnership with senior law enforcement investigators and anti-money laundering specialist that incorporates advanced proprietary search algorithms to detect suspicious activity that criminals attempt to conceal using cryptocurrencies.

A report by analytic firm, Chainanalysis, shows that Bitcoin transactions on the deep web grew from approximately $250 million in 2012 to $872 million in 2018, and stand to grow to more than $1 billion in 2019.

A study performed in 2016 by Terbium Labs pulled a sample size of 400 dark web sites, and determined that over 50% of the marketplaces found on the dark web were legal, suggesting a substantial grey area. On one hand, a hidden space like the deep web can serve as a bulwark of resistance against authoritarian regimes, but also as a marketplace for untraceable human injustice.

Bigg Digital’s solutions don’t necessarily resolve the conflict between legitimate and illegal actors this raises, but they do offer potential options for law enforcement.

For example, until QLUE and BitRank, companies had no independent means of tracing the route a Bitcoin might take from block-closure to end user, and no way to determine where it went when it left your custody. Now they do.

BIG’s transaction risk-scoring BitRank Verified service enables our clients to:

  • reduce the trading risk exposure related to cryptocurrencies;
  • increase confidence in meeting regulatory compliance;
  • stop the flow of coins tied to Dark Web activity;
  • increase security through Anti-Money Laundering (AML) efforts;
  • deliver transparency regarding the legitimacy of transactions;
  • create a deterrence against criminal elements that may engage in illicit activity;
  • provide assurance to their customers that measures are in place to strongly curtail illicit transactions or reduce the amount of illicit funds that could have otherwise transacted.

BitRank is used to flag questionable or illegitimate transactions, and then QLUE takes over to perform due diligence and blockchain security investigations at greater forensic depth by exploring where the related funds are coming from and the security profiles of the entities involved. These addresses can then be tied to their non-digital analogs and maybe we can have a deterrent for some of the nastier aspects of the deep web.

Of course, there’s the pesky problem of authoritarian regimes like the Chinese and the Americans shining a light on legitimate dissent and privacy aspirations on the deep web, and forcing them to comply, but for them, there’s always Dash.

—Joseph Morton

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