Bitcoins Investigations Training


    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a Bitcoins Investigations training on 8 September 2016, in Vienna. The training was organized  jointly by the Global Programme Against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) and the Global Programme on Cyber Crime.

    20 Participants from the Austrian and Hungarian financial intelligence, the Police, the Economic Crime and Asset Recovery Units, Counter Terrorism Centers, Tax and Customs Administrations, as well as, UNODC experts participated in the course. 

    The participants received a one-day intensive training course. The training provided  short presentations from the Bitcoin investigation experts on the Bitcoin mechanics, main actors, as well as an overview on the Dark Web and illicit goods marketplaces.

    The training also included a set of seven practical exercises with the real data from the Bitcoin blockchain and the Dark Web, which the participants worked on  in pairs on their computers.

    The exercises included the "live" creation of the bitcoin wallets, research of the Dark Web and illegal internet marketplaces for drugs, weapons and other illicit goods, on-line tracing of the bitcoins, identifying the IP-addresses and  Geo-location of the bitcoin operators, and other investigation techniques.

    The  training was well received by the participants and they indicated the demand for such knowledge and training in the law enforcement community, especially in the anti-money laundering and cybercrime units.

    Bitcoin is the largest world cryptocurrency, it has a total value above $11bn and provides a high degree of anonymity. These features make Bitcoin attractive for criminals and money launderers.

    The training was the piloted by  UNODC and it is a part of a joint project of GPML and the Global programme on Cybercrime. The project is developing a set of training modules according to the GPML Training Methodology. The trainings would be delivered by the UNODC experts, in the format of Train-the-Trainers programme. The bitcoin investigation eLearning module and the train-the-trainers course is expected to start in 2017.