UNODC has developed a world-leading Cryptocurrency Investigation Train-the-Trainers course. The training course is a joint project of UNODC's Global Programme Against Money Laundering and the Global Programme on Cybercrime.
From 11-13 of April 2017, UNODC delivered the first practical training course on Cryptocurrency Investigation for national trainers. Law enforcement experts from 22 countries and UNODC Regional Staff actively participated in the training course. The attendees learnt about the business profile and global ecosystem of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Critically, the practitioners learnt how to conduct bitcoin tracing as a part of a wider financial investigation. Leading law enforcement experts from the USA demonstrated how to plan bitcoins investigations, where and how to obtain more information and how to collaborate internationally on casework.
Argentina: "I believe that the course has been of great help for my team. Due to the high level of anonymity that the network has, it is necessary to have tools that facilitate the international tracing of cryptocurrencies. I consider that the session on the first day about the business profile and ecosystem of Bitcoin was very important, it gave us solid knowledge on the subject of virtual currencies and their operation which, in my country, is a new and relatively unknown subject."
India: "The training was a unique program where I could not only understand the conceptual framework of cryptocurrency but also get familiar with the ongoing criminal activities using bitcoins and nuances of their investigation including bitcoins-facilitated illicit international trafficking of drugs and weapons. The training was also useful for investigating other commercial frauds because in cases of under-invoicing / over-invoicing of imports/exports undisclosed money transfers may involve bitcoins, where the objective is to evade customs duty or to launder money."
Nigeria: "As an analyst, I have learnt about cryptocurrency which can be traced and subjected to analysis using tools like Chainalysis' Reactor."
The UNODC Cryptocurrency Investigation Training course focused on developing the new set of skills to collaborate together, to understand the cryptocurrency concept and to cooperate internationally on cryptocurrency cases. UNODC builds partnership with the actors of RegTech and FinTech sector and collaborates with cryptocurrency industry leaders like Chainalysis Inc. to assist law enforcement officers and analysts to trace illegal financial flows.
Michael Gronager, CEO of Chainalysis Inc, said: "We partnered with UNODC on creating the comprehensive Train-the-Trainer program on analysis, tracing and investigation of Cryptocurrencies. It is a highly important topic: the use of Virtual Currencies is steadily growing and today analysts, law enforcers and prosecutors need training to collect and disseminate data gathered by exchanges and brokers thus supporting the expertise of national agencies in preventing misuse of this innovative technology for criminal purposes.".
From April 19-21 st, attendees from different countries attended the second train-the-trainers course on cryptocurrency investigations. The second course focused on analysis of cryptocurrency transactions, investigation chokepoints, Bitcoin AML Framework and case studies.
Tofik Murshudlu, UNODC Chief of the Implementation Support Section said: "UNODC's Programme builds greater connectivity among global partners and experts. The Train-the-Trainers approach helped delegates from more than 20 countries and staff of UNDOC to be able to train their teams to spot emerging threats, collaborate and investigate operationally."
Azerbaijan: "I learned a lot and look forward to sharing the acquired knowledge with my colleagues."
Egypt: "I would like to thank you once more for the excellent course. The contents and delivery were of superior quality and I, as a cryptocurrencies enthusiast, benefited a lot."
Course attendees came from: Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Hungary, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Moldova, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, the USA.
The outcome of the course is that all participants now speak the same "analytical/investigative cryptocurrency language" and are fully prepared to collaborate with international partners. Staff from the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), provided the excellent analytical expertise on this topic. The most important result is that the new trainers will spread the acquired knowledge among their colleagues in their jurisdictions.
Neil Walsh, UNODC Chief of the Global Programme on Cybercrime, said that "It's thanks to donor Governments such as the UK, USA, Norway that UNODC GPML has been able to develop and deliver this innovative course.".
Criminals and terrorists seek to exploit the anonymity of darknet markets and cryptocurrencies to buy weapons, child abuse material, drugs and cybercrime exploit kits in the belief that they won't be found. They are wrong. Using UNODC's niche training, mentoring and advice, law enforcers around the globe are minimizing the ability of criminals to evade capture and harm society. At UNODC we will continue to work across our Programmes, with private sector, national, regional and international partners, to use the most innovative techniques to keep the world safer from crime, drugs and terrorism."