HMRC seeks tech to unearth cryptocurrency cybercriminals

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 January 2020 in News
News

Tax agency looks to invest in cryptoanalysis tool

Credit: Adobe Stock

HM Revenue and Customs is looking to invest in “cryptoanalysis” technology that could help it identify and investigate criminals trading in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

The tax agency is looking for a tool that could allow its FIS-DSI Cybercrime team to analyse blockchain-based cryptocurrency transactions. According to the department’s request for proposal document, the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum are increasingly used for legitimate payments – but also for “tax evasion and money-laundering”.

“Many of these crypto-asset transactions are recorded publicly in a ledger known as a blockchain,” HMRC said. “Whilst the transactions are typically public, the participants undertaking them are not.”

While free online tools and human analysis of “raw blockchain data” can shed some light on these transactions, the department believes that investing in a commercial product would allow its investigators to close “intelligence gaps” in how the trade in cryptocurrencies is currently “supporting criminal activity against HMRC”.


Related content​


The tax authority is seeking the “provision of a tool that will support intelligence-gathering methods to identify and cluster crypto-asset transactions into linked transactions and identify those linked to crypto-asset service providers”.

The product in question must use “cluster analysis” to attribute transactions to companies or service providers – especially those known to run gambling services, dark-web operations, or so-called cryptocurrency “mixing” scams.

HMRC requires a tool that can, at a minimum, track transactions and value fluctuations in the following currencies: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic; Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash; Ripple; Tether; and Litecoin. The department would, ideally, also like a product that could develop the ability to track Monero, Zcash, and Dash.

A budget of £100,000 is available to spend on a year’s worth of licensing for the chosen tool. Proposals from potential suppliers are invited until 31 January, ahead of a scheduled contract start date of 17 February.

“The successful service provider must have relevant people, suitable assets, and deep experience,” HMRC said. “Critically, we will be looking for vendors to showcase their capabilities by demonstrating their expertise in the field of crypto-asset tracing.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Q&A: HMRC tech chief on how the department is ‘leading the way on government cloud adoption’
17 March 2021

Daljit Rehal tells PublicTechnology about his priorities for the tax agency’s digital services and its programme to reform billions of pounds of tech procurement

Analysis: gaps in procurement transparency are nothing new
26 February 2021

The health secretary cited the demands of coronavirus response after being rapped for failing to meet publication deadlines for major contracts. But perusing procurement databases suggests this is...

Related Sponsored Articles

Avoid Infrastructure Paralysis: Six benefits of moving legacy Oracle workloads to the cloud
6 April 2021

There are many reasons to keep your Oracle workloads running on local servers. But there are even more reasons to move them to the cloud as part of a wider digital transition strategy. Six Degrees...

Human Centric Process Management: The common base for digital transformation, cost savings, compliance and agility
11 March 2021

Engage Process explains how to ensure that process remains at the heart of your management programs - and how to keep undue pressure from those processes 

Stopping Cyber Attacks in Higher Education
19 April 2021

Higher Education institutions are some of the most consistently targeted organisations for cyberattacks. CrowdStrike explores the importance of the right cybersecurity measures. 

Optimising the Benefits of Hybrid IT
7 April 2021

SolarWinds explains how public sector organisations can make the most of their hybrid IT investments - delivering services that are both innovative and reliable