London-based Asset Reality, a specialist when it comes to investigating and recovering stolen crypto assets, will act as a case handler and help MetaMask users around the globe build an investigation in the event they fall victim to fraud, the companies said Thursday.
MetaMask, which now boasts over 30 million monthly active users, sees a good deal of ticket requests relating to losses, many of which involve malicious actors conducting phishing attacks or orchestrating social engineering of some sort, said Alex Herman, MetaMask’s support product lead.
“We wanted to offer something to users beyond a handshake and good luck at the end of our interaction,” said Herman in an interview. “So, partnering with Asset Reality gives users a way to start an investigation to try and track down their stolen funds and possibly lead to a recovery down the line. It means there’s at least some light at the end of the tunnel.”
The average amount lost in a crypto scam is an eye-watering $25,000, according to Asset Reality, but can occasionally exceed $1 million. Part of the recovery process involves blockchain analytics (Asset Reality works with a number of crypto sleuths, including Chainalysis).
Then there’s the more traditional heavy lifting needed to commence civil litigation, usually involving lawyers, serving information notices on exchanges and so on, said Aidan Larkin, CEO of Asset Reality. This helping hand offered to wallet users comes courtesy of MetaMask; Asset Reality is not in this to win some percentage of assets recovered, Larkin added.
Once a MetaMask user makes a report, Asset Reality carries out an initial investigation involving some blockchain analytics, which provides the user an understanding of what has happened. The recovery firm also acts as an expert witness if the user wants to be connected with a lawyer or get together into a larger class action, Larkin explained.
“This is about people being able to make that initial report and being able to pursue their case with trusted partners,” Larkin said in an interview. “We’re not saying you’re going to get your funds back tomorrow. These are civil litigation cases and very complex, but there will be those opportunities where we can identify stolen assets sitting on platforms around the world, who will collaborate and work together to legally get these assets back to the victim.”
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.