TechSprint on Financial Crime — October 19-23:

Using Traceability in Crypto to Combat CSAM

(Child Sexual Abuse Material)

Cryptocurrency has become a dominant payment method for child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and in the past five years there has been proliferation in the creation of cryptocurrency paywalls to gain access to the material. Unlike cash, crypto is traceable, but traditional anti-money laundering technology and current law enforcement techniques are often ineffective in detecting and intercepting it. AIR - the Alliance for Innovative Regulation held a virtual TechSprint to surface new models of traceability and explore technological solutions to combat and apprehend perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

Problem Statement

Can we curtail CSAM by detecting users through their cryptocurrency payment activities, without compromising the privacy and data security of innocent people?

Demo Day: Friday, October 23

Experts from widely diverse fields will spent four days together at AIR’s invitation, helping to solve a rising global problem: use of cryptocurrency to purchase online child sexual abuse material, known as CSAM. On Friday, October 23, they demonstrated their solutions to a distinguished panel of judges and an online audience.

Our Demo Day speakers included Ashton Kutcher and Julie Cordua representing Thorn; Chris Larsen, Chairman of Ripple; Linda Lacewell, Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services; and Michael Dondarski, Associate Director of the Enforcement Division of FinCEN. From Capitol Hill, we heard from Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Anthony Gonzalez on the issues of CSAM and human trafficking. Jesse Spiro of Chainalysis explained how crypto analytics helped the IRS crack the infamous CSAM case, Welcome to Video. And Global Blockchain Business Council CEO Sandra Ro shared perspectives on the profound positive potential of blockchain technology.

Press Release

Thank You to our Partners



Learn More

For more information about CSAM: visit Thorn, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

For media coverage of CSAM, see: NYTimes article, NYTimes Podcast Part 1, NYTimes Podcast Part 2, Feds Take Down Dark Web Child Porn Site.



Context on CSAM

• After nearly disappearing in the ’90s, the spread of child sexual abuse material exploded with the rise of the internet

• Reports of CSAM online have increased 15,000% over the last 15 years, tripling between 2017 and 2019 alone

• Outside of a handful of companies, most of the tech industry lacks the resources or the expertise to comprehensively address the issue

— Thorn / NCMEC

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