Events

Aidan Larkin is Featured on Chainalysis’ Podcast: Public Key

Written By
Louise Bryant
September 12, 2022

Last week, our co-founder & CEO Aidan was invited to the Chainalysis office in Washington D.C to record the latest episode of Public Key, a weekly cryptocurrency and compliance podcast from our partner Chainalysis.

He sat down with Ian Andrews, Chainalysis’ Chief Marketing Officer and host of the Public Key podcast, to discuss the challenges facing asset recovery practitioners around the world when dealing with both luxury goods and complex assets like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Aidan was thankful for the chance to speak on such a prestigious platform:


“I’m massively grateful to Chainalysis for the invitation to speak to Ian on their incredible podcast about our work at Asset Reality, the platform we’ve built for managing crypto-asset recovery cases and our exciting new expansion into the United States. The Public Key podcast is one of my favourite ways to stay updated in this rapidly changing industry, so I am incredibly proud to have been featured on such an excellent show.”


Episode Breakdown

1:43 - Aidan’s Origin Story - Why an auction led to the creation of Asset Reality

4:30 - How traditional assets are seized and sold at auction

10:34 - Unique challenges with seizing crypto assets

14:23 - The statistics of crypto asset recovery around the world

16:09 - The impact on victims of crypto-related crimes

19:59 - Public and private sector collaboration

21:35 - Asset Reality’s mission for simpler recovery

31:01 - Asset Reality’s work with worldwide governments

Episode Summary

Aidan described how traditional assets like supercars, luxury watches or yachts that are obtained by illicit means and seized by law enforcement are usually held until the case proceeds to the stage when they can be sold at auction. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for cases to last for years and since these types of assets need to be looked after, law enforcement is left picking up the bill for storage, protection and upkeep. 

This lengthy wait usually results in a loss of value, as Aidan explains:

“All of the maintenance in the world doesn’t stop the steady march of time. A Lamborghini that was a year old versus a Lamborghini that is 5 years old and has sat in a field is not going to be the same car it was when it was seized”

Sadly, this means items are sold for much less than they would have been worth, and the victims are left with less compensation. Even worse, if the asset’s original owner is acquitted they will often sue the state for the damage caused to their belongings during their period of seizure.

Due to these long-standing issues, many governments around the world were convinced that an influx of digital asset seizures would cause further problems for the asset recovery industry. However, Aidan believes that crypto assets are actually much more straightforward. Thanks to their digital nature, investigators can seize and store billions of dollars of cryptocurrency for long periods of time at a mere fraction of the costs involved in maintaining the equivalent value in physical assets.

These advantages present a huge opportunity for private sector companies to aid law enforcement in improving traditional asset recovery techniques, which Aidan is keen to take advantage of:

“It’s all about the art of the possible. It sounds scary, it sounds complicated and one of our missions at Asset Reality is to just simplify the process, work with partners and be able to show people that actually, it’s not as complicated as it looks.”

The two went on to discuss the unique challenges of seizing cryptocurrency including its similarities to the early days of digital forensics, a suspect’s ability to access the crypto at any time during an investigation and the lack of education around crypto recovery. Despite these challenges, crypto asset recovery continues to demonstrate more results than traditional asset classes.

Aidan shared several shocking statistics, including that:

“In the UK, one police force has seized more in crypto assets than 43 police forces combined for all categories of assets. So this is the equivalent of finding gold for the first time, finding oil for the first time, where we have this incredibly highly valuable asset category that can generate so much value.”

He was keen to stress the impact on local communities that this new source of income will have:

“That money is the money that will go back into countries and pays for hospitals, that’s the thing that will bring down our tax bills. This is the lifeblood of any government and any society, this is the money that will compensate victims of crime.”

After discussing how collaboration between the public and private sectors can improve asset recovery in all asset classes, Aidan went on to explain Asset Reality’s mission for a simpler recovery process that will make crypto safer for everyone:

“Our north star was always around improving asset recovery for everybody and getting more money back to the victims and the pot for society. But as a company, we’ve naturally progressed into effectively developing a platform that allows government agencies to manage their crypto assets.”

These government agencies currently manage billions of dollars across thousands of asset classes through long and complicated excel spreadsheets. Thanks to his background in the public sector, Aidan was keen for Asset Reality to provide the solution to replace these spreadsheets:

“We’re kind of like crypto customer service. So web3 protocols, companies and De-Fi, we will be their partner. If you’re a victim of fraud, you come to us, we use the analytic tools and we’ll try and help you on that journey to recovery.”

Asset Reality’s bespoke platform provides its users with easy-to-use tools that will enable companies in both the private and public sectors to better investigate, manage and recover assets throughout the entire legal process. We’ve been chosen by leading crypto providers like MetaMask and ConSensys to improve the user experience on their platforms by investigating crypto-related frauds for their customers.

Aidan concluded the conversation with Ian by detailing our work with governments in offshore jurisdictions like the Seychelles to improve their crypto asset recovery before outlining our plans for educating people about the risks and benefits of crypto seizures:

“If we can play our small part in the ecosystem and work with partners like [Chainalysis] and ask how we can join the dots and make this interpretable and deploy all of this knowledge in bite-sized educational ways that people can act on, then we’ll be doing our job.”

If you would like to know more about our work in crypto-related frauds and asset recovery, contact connect@assetreality.com 

For press enquiries, contact comms@assetreality.com