The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is trying to license Elliptic's cryptocurrency tracing software as an emergency response to COVID-19.
- On July 15, the tax agency said it had negotiated a "COVID-19" crypto tracing deal solely with the British analytics firm under federal disaster relief law known as the Stafford Act, public records obtained by CoinDesk show.
- President Donald J. Trump's March declaration of a coronavirus emergency authorizes federal agencies to spend vast sums in response to the virus. That, apparently, is what is happening here.
- CI Cyber Crimes wants to use the software for "tracing and analysis of various types of cryptocurrency transactions and the entities involved in transacting them," the notice read, saying also that investigators asked for Elliptic by name.
- The IRS did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's queries as to why it needs crypto-tracing software to respond to COVID-19. However, the IRS has previously warned the public about COVID-19 fraud.
- While the deal has already been negotiated, the full terms and dollar value are not yet publicly known. Additionally, competing firms have until July 22 to petition the IRS for consideration.
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.