Network facilitates real-time communication between law enforcement and crypto platforms during hacks and other critical incidents
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TRM Labs, the leader in blockchain intelligence solutions, today announced the launch of the Beacon Network, the first public-private communication network for Web3 incident response. The Network connects law enforcement investigators with cryptocurrency exchanges and other virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in the aftermath of critical incidents like crypto hacks, increasing the probability that crypto users are able to recover funds that are illicitly stolen from them. The Beacon Network enables faster, secure communication between incident response teams by providing verified points of contact directly through the TRM Forensics interface. Network members include crypto platforms from around the world, with Binance, Circle and Bittrex among the earliest adopters.
TRM data reveals that 2022 was a record-setting year for crypto hacks, with over $3.7 billion stolen. Following a hack, attackers typically move quickly to liquidate the crypto by sending the stolen crypto to an exchange or other cash out point. Crucially, this moment often presents the best opportunity for law enforcement to freeze and recover stolen funds, highlighting the importance of exchanges being alerted to the funds’ illicit origin before the cash out occurs.
Until now, financial crime investigators relied on slow, manual methods to identify relevant contacts at crypto platforms and notify them of illicit incoming funds. With the Beacon Network, law enforcement users tracing the flow of funds in TRM’s software can immediately contact a verified point of contact at an exchange to notify them of an illicit deposit, enabling the exchange to freeze funds, or stop subsequent withdrawals.
The Beacon Network is a collaborative partnership open to law enforcement, financial intelligence units (FIUs), and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) worldwide. The Network leverages TRM’s unique technology platform and incident response expertise; members of TRM’s team include former law enforcement officers from the UK’s National Crime Agency, INTERPOL, Australian Federal Police, IRS-Criminal Investigation, DEA, HSI, FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and others. TRM’s investigative tools are utilized by law enforcement agencies, tax authorities and financial intelligence units worldwide to support investigations of crypto-related fraud and financial crime.
In the private sector, TRM provides compliance services to a vast and diverse range of VASPs including exchanges, NFT marketplaces, DeFi platforms, blockchain foundations, and others, whose participation in the Network demonstrates a commitment to impeding the efforts of threat actors who seek to steal or otherwise use cryptocurrency for illicit activity.
“With crypto, threat actors can move illicit funds at the speed of the internet,” said Esteban Castaño, CEO of TRM Labs. “It’s paramount that the public and private sectors have tools to collaborate in real-time, stop financial crime, and recover funds for victims. With the Beacon Network, our law enforcement customers and the wider Web3 industry now have a trusted channel to collaborate on critical incidents.”
VASPs can leverage the Beacon Network to more efficiently prioritize the high volume of law enforcement requests they receive. Because Beacon requests emanate from the Network, VASP staff know they are legitimate and urgent; only verified law enforcement agencies have access to the Network and use of the network is reserved for critical and urgent incidents supporting fund recovery efforts.
“Binance is committed to growing the industry sustainably and furthering its security which includes close collaboration with law enforcement to detect and fight hacks, ransomware, and other attacks that damage the integrity of the crypto economy,” said Aron Akbiyikian, Global Head of the Law Enforcement Intake Team. “Being a part of the Beacon Network will further help our Investigations Team to respond quickly to high-priority, time-sensitive requests from law enforcement organizations.”
“As a community, we strive to enable people, businesses and financial services to conduct business safely on-chain, and we must leverage the traceability of blockchain transactions to help protect consumers,” said Mandeep Wallia, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer at Circle. “The Beacon Network will help fortify the industry, and Circle is proud to engage our outstanding compliance and intelligence specialists to establish strong protections for the future of finance.”
“Bittrex remains committed to fighting financial crime through a strong culture of compliance and partnering with teams equally dedicated to preventing and detecting money laundering and fraud like TRM Labs, ” said Mike Carter, CCO of Bittrex, Inc. “We actively cooperate with law enforcement teams and are excited to add additional capabilities to more efficiently respond to time-sensitive requests.”
VASPs and public sector agencies interested in leveraging the Beacon Network can submit an application here.
About TRM Labs
TRM provides blockchain intelligence to help financial institutions, cryptocurrency businesses and public agencies detect and investigate crypto-related fraud and financial crime. TRM’s risk management platform includes solutions for blockchain transaction monitoring and wallet screening, VASP due diligence, and flow-of-funds tracing for investigations. These tools enable a rapidly growing cohort of organizations around the world to safely embrace cryptocurrency-related transactions, products, and partnerships. TRM is based in San Francisco, CA and is hiring across engineering, product, sales, and data science. To learn more, visit www.trmlabs.com.