Internet Watch Foundation Partners to Stop Illicit Bitcoin Use

The Internet Watch Foundation has announced a partnership with a blockchain industry startup aimed at fighting online child sex abuse.

AccessTimeIconJul 6, 2016 at 2:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:21 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has announced a partnership with blockchain industry startup Elliptic aimed at fighting online child sex abuse.

With the news, the UK-based charity has provided a database of bitcoin addresses associated with sexual abuse content to the startup. Elliptic, in turn, will seek to use the information to "alert financial institutions and law enforcement" of any payments made in support of the illicit activity.

In statements, IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves said that the action follows what her organization believes is an increase in the use of bitcoin by criminals looking to disseminate child sexual abuse material online.

Elsewhere, consultant and former head of regional organized crime unit head Mark Birch sought to position the development as a positive for both bitcoin the digital currency, and the technology’s larger community.

Birch said:

"Elliptic and IWF’s partnership represents a major step forward in bitcoin’s evolution. Elliptic has demonstrated to banks, law enforcement and the public at large that they are taking meaningful steps to eliminate the illicit use of bitcoin."

The announcement is the latest for the blockchain startup following a $5m fundraising in March.

Image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about