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A Look Inside the Binance Investigative Unit

Crypto remains susceptible to a number of bad actors looking for ways to profit off illicit activities, making cybersecurity a growing need in the space.

Crypto-Security

From scams to rug pulls, the crypto space can be dangerous. Binance has responded to this with efforts to build out its investigative unit. 

In May, BSC News wrote about Binance beefing up its cyber security division after appointing Jarek Jakubcek to the role of Head of Intelligence and Investigations, Asia-Pacific (AP). 

BSC News also mentioned the hiring of former IRS-CI Special Agent Tigran Gambaryan who joined in September 2021 as the VP of Global Intelligence and Investigations. Finally, there was the hiring of Joshua Eaton, who was appointed as Deputy General Counsel overseeing legal affairs and supporting global compliance, investigations and law enforcement activities. 

As crypto users and investors navigate a wild-west landscape, we are seeing more hacks, scams, rug pulls, and more recently, formal investigations into insider trading. So it makes complete sense that one of the largest global cryptocurrency exchanges, one with ambitious expansionary efforts, looks to solidify its security apparatus. 

Source

According to Kari McMahon in this Business Insider (BI) piece, the investigative unit has built a massive 150-person team. 

“The company took the approach of, ‘look, we really take this seriously, we really want to not only protect our customers, protect our platform, but blockchain as a whole, because if we’re doing that it adds trust to the space,” Matthew Price, Head of Intelligence and Investigations, Americas, noted in an interview with BI. 

In a blog posted to Binance on June 10th, Price said, “We’re here to do what we’ve always done - protect the crypto ecosystem and innocent users,” indicating the seriousness that Binance has when it comes to user protection.

Low Volume, Incoming Regulation

According to McMahon, who pulled data from Chainalysis, only 0.15% of actual cryptocurrency transactions are deemed illicit transactions. That number may sound small, but consider that in 2021, illicit wallet addresses were on the receiving end of $14 billion, up from $7.8 billion in 2020. Yes, total transactions accounted for $15.8 trillion in 2021, up 567% from 2020, but inflated totals should not undermine the need for increased security and protection in the industry. As these numbers continue to grow, widespread adoption and proper user protection become linked even more.

On another note, regulation is coming. It’s been on the radar for months, but the fall of LUNA and the fiasco with Celsius is drawing mainstream attention - and not in good ways. 

As regulators are honing in on the space, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson recently testified at a Congressional hearing on crypto regulation. 

“There’s a lot of great legislation that’s been proposed recently like the DCA, the FIA, there’s executive orders that have come through that are trying to force clarity amongst the executive branch,” said Hoskinson. “So these things together create a global dialogue and if we’re clever about it, I think we can converge to a reasonable compromise that we as an industry can live with and continue to be competitive with.” 

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