Darker days lie ahead for digital currency scammers operating in Canada as the country’s police team up with on-chain analytics firm Chainalysis to create the Western Canada Cryptocurrency Investigations Centre.
The center will utilize Chainalysis’ extensive tools and expert investigations team to crack down on digital asset scammers. Before the launch of the center, Canadian authorities had employed a fragmented approach to investigating digital currency crimes, relying on basic sources for leads.
Canadian authorities plan to even the odds by leaning on Chainalysis’ knowledge of publicly distributed ledgers and their antecedents in exposing digital currency bad actors. Chainalysis’ previous reports have trailed the activities of state-sponsored North Korean hacking gangs like Lazarus and Kimsuky, regularly assisting U.S. law enforcement with their investigations.
“This demonstration of public-private partnership to solve novel issues in financial services is a model that the rest of the world can learn from,” Chainalysis co-founder Jonathan Levin said. “Not only is this a great moment for Western Canada, but it is a first step in our work to enable law enforcement partners across the world to protect their constituents.”
Under the collaboration, Chainalysis says it will provide blockchain technology and digital currency training for law enforcement across the region. The on-chain analysis firm also pledges 24/7 case support for local law enforcement as part of the historic partnership.
Digital currency usage in Canada has been on the rise and is ranked 22nd on the 2022 Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index, inching its way from 26th place. The number of digital currency firms and ATM services in the country recorded a 213% growth in under four years.
With this growth comes the rise of digital currency scammers trying to defraud Canadian investors of their holdings. In 2022, the top 10 digital asset scammers in Canada stole over $41.7 million CAD (over $31 million) from investors using different strategies.
Dimming lights for digital currency bad actors
Digital currency bad actors have been facing heightened opposition from law enforcement since the start of the year. The renewed drive is a fallout of the shocking collapses that rocked the industry in 2022, prompting a tighter policing of the industry.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it was increasing the staff of its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to fuel its litany of investigations while the Department of Justice (DoJ) continues to rack up convictions of digital asset scammers in a red-hot streak.
The recent arrest of Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon and the confiscation of properties belonging to his former employees serves as proof of concerted efforts between law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions.
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