The Austrian and German governments are funding a research effort focused on the use of digital currencies in organized crime.
Dubbed ‘BitCrime’, the initiative is backed by a number of governmental agencies in the two countries, and is split into two sub-projects.
The German sub-project is primarily supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and has a budget of €1.8m (roughly $2m). Other supporting institutions include the country’s Federal Criminal Police Office, the University of Münster, and a number of federal offices dedicated to law enforcement and financial oversight.
The Austrian sub-project, with a budget of €635k (about $725k), is backed primarily by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and the Federal Ministries of Finance and the Interior.
outlining the project states:
German researchers, the memo outlines, are developing "technical and organizational approaches" to the issue, and are set to create test environments for trying out new practices. In Austria, project leaders will explore analytical methods for investigations that involve digital currencies, including those focused on dark markets.
The project comes at a time when European governments, as well as the European Union, look to both expand existing regulations to cover digital currencies and blockchain technology, as well as develop new frameworks for the technology.
Representatives for the project did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Image via Shutterstock
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.