With more than 68,000 URLs identified as containing child sexual abuse images, and Unicef Malaysia estimating two million children across the globe are affected by sexual exploitation every year, blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic and non-profit the Internet Watch Foundation have partnered to clamp down on Bitcoin’s role in procuring child sex abuse images.

The IWF has provided its database of Bitcoin addresses associated with child sexual abuse content to Elliptic which will integrate the data set into its transaction monitoring and investigation products so as to automatically alert financial institutions and law enforcement clients to proceeds of any illicit content.

Partnership with IWF

Elliptic is uniquely placed to take action as it works with the largest US and European Bitcoin exchanges and payment processors, and provides key evidence to federal agencies for major investigations involving Bitcoin.

Dr. James Smith, CEO and co-founder at Elliptic, says:

“We have a profound respect for the critical and difficult work that IWF undertakes. We are proud to take a leadership role in combating Bitcoin’s use to facilitate these terrible crimes. In a world’s first, Elliptic’s clients can now automatically monitor all transactions for any connection to proceeds of child sex abuse.”

Silk Road and other websites

The fact that the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances made Bitcoin an option for illegal trades as seen in the case of Silk Road.

The defunct website attracted drug dealers, arms dealers, and the buyers and sellers of online child pornography. Elliptic’s partnership with IWF would likely be the beginning of Bitcoin being less attractive to a variety of users, including those who want to get around capital controls and those who support a currency that is free from government control for ideological reasons.