Crypto training demand surges among law enforcement

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In a survey titled Tackling Crypto Crime, conducted by TRM Labs with over 300 U.S. and international law enforcement professionals, 90% of respondents believe their organizations offer crypto training, but 99% call for this to be increased.

According to the survey, 93% of respondents were from U.S. law enforcement, with a majority from federal agencies and the rest from state, county, and local agencies. 40% of their investigations involved crypto, and they anticipate it to reach 51% by 2027. Despite expectations of increased crypto studies, most law enforcement professionals feel unprepared for this future.

An external polling company conducted the survey between October 18 and Nov. 3, 2023. Respondents had at least one year of employment at their current law enforcement organization and investigated or oversaw at least one criminal offense involving cryptocurrency in the past year.

According to the survey, over 50% of federal agencies currently utilize blockchain analytics tools, but only 11% of state agencies do. Approximately 61% said they lack advanced technology to address crypto criminal threats adequately.

Related: Crypto hacking losses plunge by nearly 50% in 2023: Report

TRM Labs data shows that through hacks, bad actors stole about $1.7 billion worth of crypto between January and November of 2023 — on pace to be less than half the amount taken last year.

The bridge connecting the HTX exchange and Ethereum was exploited for about $87 million in crypto assets in November. This hack came about two weeks after crypto exchange Poloniex suffered unauthorized withdrawals. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) included four cases related to cryptocurrency in its list of the top 10 cases for 2023.

Approximately 80% of survey participants consider investing in blockchain analytics a “critical” or “high” priority. However, the TRM Labs report notes that U.S. law enforcement has not implemented all its plans to educate its staff on crypto. Over half of respondents identify the shortage of investigators, expertise, and funding as the primary obstacles for law enforcement to combat crypto crime effectively.

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