- Antinalysis, a service which checked Bitcoin wallets for ‘dirty’ Bitcoin, has ceased operations
- The service had its data source suspended after it was exposed last week
- The creators said the service was used by everyone, not just the criminal element
Antinalysis, the previously secret tool that helped identify bitcoin linked to nefarious activities, has shut down after it was exposed this week. Antinalysis had been used by criminals to check whether bitcoin they were about to send to exchanges would be flagged as coming from suspicious sources and therefore ringfenced, but the revelation of the tool this week has led to the data provider, AML Bot, pulling the data source. Those who used the tool to check their bitcoin may be in for a surprise however – all the addresses searched with the tool have been passed to law enforcement.
Criminals Use Blockchain Analysis Companies’ Tools Against Them
Antinalysis was brought to the public’s attention last week when Tom Robinson, co-founder of blockchain anti-money laundering service Elliptic, told the BBC about the service, which he said represented “a first” in the fightback from criminals against blockchain analysis. Antinalysis scanned Bitcoin wallets and alerted the user if any of the coins in the wallet were linked to illegal activity and would be flagged by exchanges or authorities.
Ironically the data for the Antinalysis service came from anti-money laundering software AML Bot, which shut down Antinalysis’ access to its service after the story emerged. It also passed across all addresses known to be searched with the Antinalaysis tool to law enforcement, unintentionally helping authorities identify avenues of investigation with regard to cryptocurrency crime.
Data Seizure “Unlawful” Says Antinalysis Creator
Antanlysis’ anonymous creator contacted the BBC’s cyber reporter, Joe Tidy, who authored the report, to tell him that they saw the seizure of the addresses as “the unlawful warranted seizure of our data” and said that the service wasn’t used just by criminals – anyone wanting to make sure that their bitcoin was clean before sending to exchanges could have used it.
The creator of this darknet service has contacted me with a statement. They say the site was taken down 8hrs after our report came out and that it is not designed just for criminals:https://t.co/OK39RV6jHd pic.twitter.com/LNLMcHVL4x
— Joe Tidy (@joetidy) August 16, 2021
This argument rings hollow, however, given that the service was not publicised and was only known about on the dark web. There is no denying though that such a service would indeed be useful to anyone wanting to confirm that their bitcoin was not tainted before being sent to exchanges in order to avoid any issues.