The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced it will award the National Cyber-Forensic Training Alliance (NCFTA), a cybersecurity nonprofit organization, with a contract to research crimes involving digital currencies.

The one-year sole source order, published yesterday on behalf of the US Treasury Department, the Office of Illicit Finance (OIF) and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA), establishes that the NCFTA would study virtual currency and virtual currency exchanges to provide the federal government with real-time cyber threat intelligence.

In a redacted justification document, the US government states its need for broader capabilities in tracking crimes involving digital currencies.

The document reads:

“[The NCFTA] will support OIF’s efforts to identify significant cybercriminals engaged in financial crimes, as well as initiatives that highlight virtual currencies and virtual currency exchangers that service criminal clientele.”

The order justification goes on to cite NCFTA’s existing infrastructure and access to private information. It is not clear how much the one-year contract award is worth.

CoinDesk reached out to the IRS for comment but did not receive a response.

About the NCFTA

On its website, the NCFTA calls itself “a non-profit corporation focused on identifying, mitigating, and ultimately neutralizing cyber crime threats through strategic alliances and partnerships”.

The organization was founded in 1997 by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the National White Collar Crime Center.

The NCFTA was one of several organizations to join a cybersecurity trade coalition founded in the wake of the Target customer data breach scandal in early 2014. The non-profit is also involved with other projects targeting malware and digital consumer protection standards.

CoinDesk has reached out to the IRS primary point of contact on the filing, but at press time, has not received a response.

Magnifying Glass image via Shutterstock

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