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74% of public agencies feel under-equipped for crypto investigations: Report

A public agency survey conducted by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis highlights the need for better tools, training and support for cryptocurrency-related investigations.

The blockchain data platform delved into the topic in its 2022 State of Cryptocurrency Investigations Survey, with 74% of respondents indicating their agencies were under-equipped to investigate cryptocurrency-related crime.

Chainalysis polled some 300 respondents across 183 public sector agencies in the United States and Canada to unpack the challenges and successes working in the sector. 

An overwhelming number of respondents indicated that cryptocurrencies were relevant to their investigations and that their respective agencies would do well to invest more resources. 

Despite cryptocurrency being central in some investigations, most respondents agreed that the space could positively advance the financial system and disagreed with the suggestion that cryptocurrencies were used primarily by criminals.

Chainalysis noted the growth of legitimate cryptocurrency usage far outweighs the growth of criminal usage. Still, the percentage of illicit usage is significant enough in U.S. dollar terms that the public sector must be prepared to investigate.

Respondents also suggested their agencies have investigators or analysts specializing in cryptocurrency-related investigations. The survey also indicated that many agencies do not use specialized blockchain analytical tools, and 74% of respondents believe their agency isn’t well-equipped to investigate cryptocurrency-related crime.

Related: DeFi-ing exploits: New Chainalysis tool tracks stolen crypto across multiple chains

Chainalysis highlighted this as a major problem given the constantly changing industry, citing the recent shift from centralized services to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, which are more complex and difficult to investigate:

“If agencies aren’t becoming proficient in cryptocurrency investigations now, their knowledge gaps could compound, causing them to fall further behind the criminals exploiting cryptocurrency…..

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