Chainalysis talks Upbit partnership and COVID-19 impact on crime

Chainalysis announced a week ago that it had extended its partnership with South Korean digital currency giant Upbit. In a press release, the company revealed that Upbit would use its Know Your Transaction (KYT) program across the Asia-Pacific region. Under the new partnership, the two companies hope to clamp down on crime and comply with the established regulations.

The KYT solution is an anti-money laundering program that monitors transactions in real-time and flags suspicious activities. It currently serves over 275 clients in 40 countries, ranging from exchanges to wallets to regulators. While Chainalysis has already been working with Upbit in South Korea, the new partnership extended this to other countries in the APAC region, including Thailand and Singapore.

For enhanced due diligence, Upbit will also be using the Chainalysis Reactor, the New York-based analytics company told CoinGeek. This is an investigation tool that scans for open-source intelligence on any digital currency address.

This is the latest effort by Chainalysis to grow its presence in the APAC region. The region has continued to move towards regulation, with the digital currency service providers seeking to compete at the global level. As such, they have sought to integrate world-class AML programs, with Chainalysis being among the most prominent players in this space.

This year, Chainalysis has teamed up with two other major exchanges in this region. In January, it integrated the Chainalysis Reactor with Japanese exchange BITPoint. Chainalysis had worked with the exchange after its $32 million 2019 hack, tracing over a million transfers of the stolen funds. The company also integrated the same solution with Bithumb, the other major exchange in South Korea along with Upbit. More partnerships are in the pipeline, the company told us.

Chainalysis also shared its insights into the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on digital currency crime. 

Darknet marketplaces had an uncharacteristically large decline in activity during March, which we speculate to be due to breaks in supply chains. We found that while investment scammers were impacted with a major hit to revenue (~33% decline in revenue in March), some were opportunistic and started to try to use the crisis to obtain profits through either phishing attacks, extortion emails, or outright fraud.”

Merchant service providers have been remarkably resilient, the company revealed. These companies have maintained higher than expected activity during these slow times.

And while many companies globally have been adversely affected by the lockdowns, Chainalysis has managed to keep on with minimal disruption: “Chainalysis is in the fortunate position of being a global software company already accustomed to communicating across geographies. We haven’t been working from our offices for several weeks now, and everyone is working from their homes.

Currently, the company is working to improve its compliance and investigation software.  

We’re focused on making our powerful software easier to use and releasing advanced features for even more insight and control. We believe building trust—among governments, financial institutions, cryptocurrency businesses, and consumers—is the most vital step in cryptocurrency’s transformation into an invaluable technology that protects our safety and enables greater prosperity.

With more regulators requiring stricter AML and CFT controls from digital currency exchanges, Chainalysis is going to play a significant role in the industry in the future.

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