It’s not often that a startup in a challenging tech sector changes focus barely a year into its existence but it’s a feat that seems to have been pulled off in some style by British bitcoin and blockchain tech firm Elliptic.
When Techworld caught up with the firm in February 2015 its market pitch was around the firm’s bitcoin Vault platform, a digital location for investors to store their virtual currency in gilded, fully-insured security. This seemed logical. If people speculate on bitcoins they were going to need somewhere very reliable to keep them where they wouldn’t be pilfered.
This was a complicated enough challenge but within months the firm’s founders had spied what they believed was an even bigger issue that needed solving: how to spot criminal misuse and laundering of bitcoins into hard currency.
Institutions have no easy way to work out which deposits are from legitimate sources and which aren’t, something that has the potential to dramatically slow down the adoption of bitcoins and other virtual currencies by an industry extremely wary of compliance and risk.
Peering deeper into bitcoin transactions and the identities behind them is supposed to be