If it were up to government officials, Bitcoin and other blockchain-based transactions will be closely monitored moving forward. The European Commission has unveiled a new plan to make sure criminal use of virtual currencies will be nipped in the bud. With the introduction of Project Titanium it is evident more scrutiny will come Bitcoin users’ way in the future.
Project Titanium can Become a big Problem
Every time a government agency launches a project to monitor blockchain transactions, there is plenty of reason for concern. In most cases these projects needlessly scrutinize legitimate cryptocurrency users, yet do virtually nothing to prevent criminal activity using these payment methods. No one will deny Bitcoin and other currencies can be used for nefarious purposes, but the vast majority of transactions are perfectly legitimate.
For some reason, the European Commission feels they need to do something extra to fight the criminal use of the dark web and virtual currencies. Going after the criminals residing on the darknet is never a bad idea. These groups of people have been causing significant damages and earned a lot of money by going after consumers and corporations. Ransomware for example, is a favorite tool among cybercriminals which often results in victims making a Bitcoin payment.
Blockchain technology utilized by Bitcoin and other virtual currencies is decentralized, which makes it impossible to control. In fact, the European Commission acknowledges how blockchains “evade traditional investigate measures.” It is evident some tools will need to be developed to allow for proper blockchain analysis. Various companies in the cryptocurrency space are already working on such solutions as we speak.
Project Titanium will try to achieve a very similar goal, although not too many details are known about this concept. We do know the project received 5 million Euro in funding, and it’s scheduled to run for at least three years. The goal is to develop technological solutions for investigating crime and terrorism involving virtual currencies. Four different law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL will collaborate on this effort.
The name Titanium is not chosen randomly either. This acronym stands for Tools for the Investigation of Transactions in Underground Markets. It is believed these new projects will be tested and validated in the future, albeit no specific dates or deadlines have been announced at this time. Analyzing blockchains is not an easy feat by any means. Moreover, r it is unclear how Project Titanium will separate criminals from regular users, other than by looking for anomalies. After all, the definition of a blockchain “anomaly” is quite broad.
It does appear the European Commission wants to respect privacy and fundamental rights. How this will be achieved, is anybody’s guess at this time. The Project Titanium team has a lot of work ahead of them, that much is quite evident. It will be quite an intriguing project to keep an eye on over the next few years.
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