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Elliptic Tackles the Anonymity of Cross-Chain Bridges With New AML Blockchain Insights Service

Holistic Screening, Elliptic‘s new blockchain analytics service, is set to allow cryptoassets to be tracked and traced between all blockchains and assets concurrently.

Holistic Screening aims to assist cryptocurrency businesses in achieving cross-chain compliance through the automation of risk insights.

dr tom robinson elliptic
Tom Robinson

“The way in which crypto is used has shifted,” reveals Dr Tom Robinson, the company’s co-founder and chief scientist. “Individual cryptoassets and blockchains are no longer isolated systems, and have become part of a larger, interconnected crypto-economy.”

Cryptoassets can be transferred between different blockchains through the use of cross-chain bridges; which eliminate the need for centralised exchanges.

Despite the billions of dollars that make the crossing legitimately between Ethereum, Bitcoin and other blockchains, bridge services have become a key tool in money laundering and the financing of crime. Ill-saught proceeds are often moved between different blockchains as a way to evade tracing, and exchanges that can be used anonymously have become a major facilitator of ‘chain-hopping’.

“New innovations such as decentralized exchanges and cross-chain bridges have removed many of the barriers between assets, allowing the free flow of capital – making crypto more useful and valuable, but also opening up new avenues for cross-chain crime,” Robinson confirms.

Due to the lack of regulation that surrounds their use, decentralised cross-chain bridges are providing cybercriminals with unregulated alternatives to launder and move their proceeds.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptoassets from ransomware and North Korean cyber activity are being laundered through cross-chain bridges, according to the company’s latest research, with decentralised exchanges being exploited to evade the seizure of stolen assets; while ‘coinswap’ services in Russia and elsewhere continue to be leveraged for money laundering and sanctions evasion.

The company’s recently announced blockchain analytics service will screen and track this kind of activity automatically through the deployment of Elliptic’s APIs, which will enable businesses to screen customer activity at scale while also adhering to cross-chain compliance.

The Holistic Screening service is powered by the company’s new blockchain analytics engine Nexus, which has reportedly taken three years for the company to develop and is architected to programmatically trace cryptoasset flows across various assets and blockchains.

It merges Elliptic’s data for each cryptoasset and blockchain into a single financial network of crypto transactions and wallets, which can then be screened by compliance teams

“With this one true holistic view, cryptoassets can be traced across and between all blockchains and assets concurrently, in a single screening – reducing the time needed to make a compliance decision,” continues Robinson. “Holistic screening goes far beyond simple cross-chain analytics to incorporate a range of techniques including advanced smart contract and cross-chain bridge tracing.”

Simone Maini, CEO, Elliptic
Simone Maini

Adding to this, Simone Maini, the company’s CEO, said: “Having an understanding of the total risk exposure of all the transactions, across all assets, presented to an institution is the holy grail of the “risk based approach” required by global financial crime regulators.

“Elliptic’s new Holistic Screening approach enables crypto compliance teams to meet and exceed this goal, and to know exactly where their risk exposure is, delivering a new standard in blockchain analytics. This means institutions can make better decisions, faster.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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