CipherTrace, a cryptocurrency forensics company based in Silicon Valley, is putting together the CipherTrace Defenders League, a network of graduate students trained to trace crypto funds lost via fraud or theft.

CipherTrace's proprietary platform uses data gleaned from cryptocurrency addresses, law enforcement, and other sources to help clients spot money laundering and stay in compliance with financial regulations. 

The league of extraordinary grad students will hail from Middlesex University London, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and nine California and Mexico universities that participate in the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation (BAF), a nonprofit umbrella group of student blockchain organizations.


CipherTrace says it will train the students on how to use its software, which it will be providing to the universities, enabling students to track transactions across over 800 currencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. In return, "students will provide services to help recover 'small' losses that are typically too small to for law enforcement to investigate."

CipherTrace certainly gets a lot out of the deal, as Pam Clegg, its director of investigations and education, implies: "We've experienced a significant increase in requests for investigative and analytic support for fraud and theft cases." The work done by the CipherTrace Defenders League can "produce actionable intelligence and evidence that can be used to recover stolen funds and ultimately prosecute those criminal actors responsible for the losses." 

And those small losses could be as high as $10 million, according to CipherTrace Chief Financial Analyst John Jefferies. As for the students, think of it like an internship program: At the end, they receive class credit. Judging by the long list of open positions at CipherTrace, they may also be well-placed for job offers from the firm. 

CipherTrace is looking to spread the reach of its proprietary software in other ways. It's hosting one-day training events in the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, and Singapore for those interested in becoming CipherTrace certified examiners.

You know what they say: The best defense is … having a global network of young people who will work for free college credit.


Daily Debrief Newsletter

Start every day with the top news stories right now, plus original features, a podcast, videos and more.