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Russia's Financial Monitoring Agency Wants to Identify and Profile Crypto Users

Rosfinmonitoring will pay $200,000 for a tool to identify crypto users and see if they are involved in criminal activities.

Aug 4, 2021 at 10:38 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:35 p.m. UTC

Rosfinmonitoring, Russia's agency for preventing the financing of crimes and money laundering, has selected a contractor to develop a proprietary bitcoin transaction tool for 14.7 million Russian rubles ($200,000).

According to the website tracking government contracts, a company named RCO won the auction for a bitcoin tracking tool. RCO is owned by Rambler, one of Russia's major IT companies, and it specializes in computer-powered text analysis. The company reduced the initial price of the contract from $270,000 to $200,000.

The product must allow the agency to track the movements of digital assets, maintain a database of cryptocurrency wallets related to criminal activities and terrorism financing, and even monitor the behavior of cryptocurrency market participants, the auction page says. The system should also help identify crypto users, profile them and check if they are involved in any criminal activities.

Rosfinmonitoring mentioned plans to build its own transaction tracking tool last August, seeking a technology to remove the anonymity of crypto users. Back then, the agency said it had a prototype for the Bitcoin blockchain, developed by the Moscow-based Lebedev Physical Institute. This year, however, the agency announced an auction to choose a new company.

Rosfinmonitoring first sought a crypto-tracking tool in 2018. According to the website of government contracts, that was provided and paid for. It's unclear if the technology has been in use. Rosfinmonitoring declined to comment.

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