Cryptocurrency has an Achilles’ heel. It can democratize finance, but it is favored by criminals for being both anonymous like cash and usable online. This dark side erodes public trust and enables terrible crimes, including distribution of child sexual abuse material. Internet CSAM images have exploded, rising 15,000% in 15 years. They are usually bartered, but increasingly are bought with cryptocurrency, leaving ever more children captive and abused.
However, anonymous is not the same as undetectable. In 2020, AIR convened crypto companies, banks, law enforcement, regulators and child advocates for a weeklong hackathon to create high-tech ways to find these payments. This panel tells the story of what they built.