In 2017, computer scientist Rebecca Portnoff and her colleagues explained how cryptocurrency can help us follow the breadcrumbs of sex traffickers. The team developed a machine learning classifier that takes advantage of stylometry — the study of writing style via quantitative processing — to first distinguish between independent sex service providers and potential sex traffickers on online sex advertisements. From there, computational linking techniques make use of leakages in the cryptocurrency ‘mempool’ (a space that holds pending cryptocurrency transactions) to link back to those potential traffickers. This promising technology may, however, see some limitations beyond its control, such as the inherent limits of stylometry (or rather, forensic linguistics in general).
Innovative areas within cryptocurrency such as decentralized finance (DeFi) are firmly on the radar of global regulators, according to draft guidance released on Friday by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering (AML) body.