A joint task force featuring investigators from the Calgary police department and analysis from blockchain data firm Chainalysis, dubbed the Western Canada Cryptocurrency Investigations Centre, was officially launched on April 12.
In a blog post announcing the partnership, Chainalysis co-founder and chief strategy officer Jonathan Levin remarked that “this demonstration of public-private partnership to solve novel issues in financial services is a model that the rest of the world can learn from.”
The new center will expand on current efforts to address expanding cryptocurrency-related crime in Western Canada.
According to Chainalysis, Canada has seen a massive uptick in cryptocurrency adoption rates. Per the company’s blog post, “when we look at Canadian engagement with crypto ATMs, decentralized exchanges, and centralized exchanges, we see that Canada has experienced a nearly 213% increase since 2019 as of Jan 2023, with a peak level of adoption around 865% greater than March 2019 in May of 2021, driven largely by interest in DeFi.”
This rapid growth, however, has been accompanied by an increase in crime. Chainalysis reports that more than $41 million in funds were lost to cryptocurrency scams in Canada in 2022 alone. It also notes that “for every 1,000 Canadians, there was at least $1,144 CAD in total exposure to illicit crypto activity” in the same period.
The Calgary police department plans to implement the private-sector expertise from Chainalysis to augment its investigator training programs and, per the blog post, to provide officers with “around-the-clock case support.”
The next steps, according to Chainalysis, involve expanding the program to serve more law enforcement agencies in Western Canada. The company intends to eventually “scale this concept globally, working with law enforcement personnel around the world to offer bespoke, customized offerings depending on the unique needs of the region at hand.”