US Dept. to Investigate Blockchain Transactions

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As, per a press-solicitation notice published on 30th Nov., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is interested in investigating and analyzing blockchains, including those used for privacy coins.

DHS has issued a proposal, which invites interested parties to comment and design applications for blockchain forensic analytics regarding emerging digital currencies. The proposal further calls for solutions that would allow investigators to conduct a relevant analysis of blockchain transactions.

Prominently, DHS says that while previous analysis has been conducted on Bitcoin analytics, this only includes a ‘limited scope in the realm of digital currencies.’ The DHS proposal seeks application of blockchain analytics for privacy-oriented altcoins like Monero and Zcash, which run on private blockchains.

The document notes that continuous research within the field facilities technologies, the key features of which involves better capabilities for maintaining anonymity and privacy protection. While DHS indicates that these traits are “desirable,” there is “a compelling interest in tracing and understanding transactions and actions on the blockchain of an illicit nature.”

The forensic analysis of blockchain transaction could purportedly be addressed in many ways and consider different data situation use cases; meanwhile, the desired solution should “provide working approaches to treating newer blockchain implementations.” DHS further writes that the solution may be applied in other aspects of administration:

“Because of the significant impact in areas such as governance, data sharing agreement enforcement, and encrypted analytics interchanges, there are a wide variety of applications in government and the commercial marketplace that can benefit from successful product development.”

The present document is a pre-solicitation notice. Amid the pre-solicitation period, the agency seeks to get technical questions and consultation, but will not get will not entertain formal applications by experts and businesses with viable solutions. The release of the final solicitation is scheduled for 19 Dec. 2018.

Last month, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) declared that it will host the 2-day blockchain workshop in February 2019.