FTM - Follow the Money
The world is changing fast. New technologies are changing our daily life and are forcing us to think differently from how we are used to.
The technological advancement and development of new social dynamics let us live an increasingly more “comfortable” and easy life, especially in the West. However, in this widespread prosperity there are several hidden dangers.
At Protection4Kids we know it well and indeed, we don’t limit our activities to traditional methods, but we detect the risks behind the spreading of new technologies, easing their development.
Among the technologies that are characterizing our contemporary society the most, one in particular wants to be the protagonist: Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
First of all, we can say that cryptocurrencies work through blockchain technology but do not make up all of its possible uses.
Now, let’s take a close look into these cryptocurrencies that everybody has been talking about…
We can start by the etymology, constituted by two terms: Crypto, meaning hidden, and currency, meaning that they have the same ends and uses of a fiat currency, though not juridically compatible.
Cryptocurrencies do not physically exist but are generated and traded exclusively electronically.
Their fundamental characteristic is that they can be traded by means of peer-to-peer to buy goods and services.
Some concepts traditionally used to talk about valid, physical currencies, such as that of “wallet”, have been adapted for the context of virtual currencies, where you talk about digital or electronic wallet, or more simply e-wallet.
The CONSOB (The Italian national committee for corporations and stock trading) finds three integral elements in cryptocurrencies: the protocol, that is the bundle of rules in the form of code that specify the way in which the users can make the transactions; the ledger, which keeps track of the transactions; and a decentralized web of participants.
After having seen their fundamental characteristics, let’s get into their benefits. There is one in particular that we feel like highlighting and that we can sum up with the following concise statement by Chris Dixon, cofounder of Hunch and Site Advisor: “There are three eras of currencies: the ones based on raw materials, the ones based on political criteria, and now the ones based on mathematics.”
At Protection4Kids we believe that this technology will have an important impact in the next decades and that is why we act to put a stop to its most twisted implementations.
We, however, do not hide that as social networks are being used for reprehensible ends, cryptocurrencies too can be used for the same ends.
As reported by the newspaper “Sole24Ore”, Bitcoin, which is the main cryptocurrency, is used for money laundering by organized crime and international terrorist organizations.
Even though the main characteristics of the bitcoin transactions are their immutability and transparency, thanks to the decentralized Blockchain technology system, there are several “tricks” that criminal organizations can use to go undetected, even in a transparent system of payments.
We will talk about it in more detail on our blog, but, simply put, bitcoin trading takes place thanks to cryptography. Basically, every user has a private key, which produces a signature, and a public key, needed to verify the first one. These elements guarantee safety, by means of privacy, and authentication, that is the possibility for everyone to verify the content of the transaction.
Tricks are simple: you just need to have a wallet that changes address whenever it receives bitcoins, thus never leading to the same account.
This way, cryptocurrencies are sent to the same wallet, but it looks like they are being sent to different people as the addresses are different.
Furthermore, to fully exploit the structure of bitcoin transaction you could use the Wasabi wallet, which is a wallet that provides more privacy since it is able to mix all the recipients of the transaction in order to hide who the actual sender and receiver of each transaction is.
Criminal organizations are dividing their payments and using these tricks to get their transactions validated by the system without the authorities tracking these payments to them.
As you can see from our website, at Protection4Kids we also operate with more “traditional” methods because we believe that human contact is essential.
However, we cannot remain indifferent to the twisted uses of new technologies that, instead of being used for noble ends, are being devalued as just a method of payment by organized crime, becoming the main instrument in a phenomenon that we are committed to destroy.
Our main financial backers Andrea Biaggio and Juan Ricardo Palacio provide technology developed by them to track money flows artificially hidden with these “tricks”, which hide crimes against humanity.
Indeed, locating these payments with the “naked eye” is impossible and ad hoc technology is needed.
P4K uses internal know-how and its own AI tools to trace money flows and retrace the steps of the payments involved in child porn trading.