Cryptocurrency investigation is much like other forms of financial crime investigation. Find transactions, find accounts and tie accounts to a real person. Cryptocurrency investigations are made somewhat easier since transactions are often public on a blockchain ledger. An investigator can analyze the public blockchain to investigate all transactions from a given account (wallet address). These investigations are similar to requesting transaction information from a bank. The major difference is that you don’t need to request transaction information, since it is already public. However, it may be more of a challenge to tie an account to a specific user since there is no organization controlling who makes an account.
Before you start with cryptocurrency investigations take a moment to understand the basics of blockchain. Each system will have its own specific features, but the underlying function of most ledger systems is the same. Most investigations focus on blockchain transactions. We introduce some basic concepts that will help when getting into more advanced cryptocurrency investigations.