This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) is funding the development of a new Bitcoin analytics tool.

As Bitcoin becomes an increasingly accepted medium of exchange across the global economy, criminals have turned to the digital currency for their transactions, using it for money laundering and thus making it harder for law enforcement to keep track of users. Law enforcement’s most immediate need is to reduce the time and resources necessary to trace illicit commerce.

According to Sandia, a new research lab preparing the tool, its work for the DHS could ultimately be delivered to other federal law enforcement agencies.

DHS S&T requested Sandia to set up a graphical user interface or a front end on the research environment so agents can test the algorithms Sandia is using in actual investigations.

The new Homeland Security Bitcoin analytics tool is currently being developed according to a specific set of requirements. Sandia conducted a systems analysis of illicit e-commerce focusing on Bitcoin. The team set up a research environment to experiment with other algorithms that can de-anonymize illicit Bitcoin users. The research includes a mix of traditional and novel investigative techniques, along with existing financial regulation and innovative policy and process tools.

Once de-anonymization occurs, law enforcement can link the Bitcoin addresses to a specific alias and they will know all of the Bitcoin addresses they need to deal with.

The user interface to make this tool accessible to law enforcement agents still needs to be developed. Analysts have mentioned this new Bitcoin analytics tool should only be used as part of “broader efforts involving multiple angles”.

According to, if Homeland Security would be able to weed out the illicit elements of Bitcoin commerce, Bitcoin’s perception by the public will change as well. In turn, this can lead to increased global adoption of the Bitcoin system.