The anti-cybercrime police in Benton County, Arkansas are trying to be one step ahead of criminals operating on the darknet. Law enforcement officers have begun to mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in order to monitor those involved in drug trafficking, the spread of child pornography, and the slave trade.
In a television interview, detective David Undiano said that mining cryptocurrency will help the police track criminals who use them for illegal transactions. In addition, police believe that mining will be more profitable than buying bitcoins on the exchange and will allow them to conduct investigations unnoticed by criminals.
The idea looks promising but some of his colleagues are skeptical. For example Glenn Latham, a potential candidate for sheriff, believes that such an approach to combating crime will be extremely costly because of the cost of electricity and cooling equipment. He points out the fact that these costs will eventually be paid by local taxpayers.
An additional argument against it may be that many criminals using cryptocurrencies switch from Bitcoin to Dash and Zcash, for example, to provide greater anonymity. So it will be much more difficult to identify lawbreakers.
It will only be possible to assess if the approach adopted by the Benton police will work by analyzing the statistics on the disclosure of crimes using cryptocurrency after some time. In any case, the introduction of new technologies is a step in the right direction. The mere fact that the police have come into the world of cryptocurrencies could scare off some criminals from using electronic cash.