- Lo Furneaux
Discussing Digital Asset Recovery with In Early - The Crypto Podcast
Last month, our co-founder & CEO Aidan Larkin was invited to discuss our mission to improve digital asset recovery and management on the global stage with Matt Green from In Early - The Crypto Podcast.
Matt is an experienced cryptocurrency lawyer who was responsible for setting the precedent for cryptocurrency assets to be treated as property in common law jurisdictions during the case AA v Person Unknown Re. Bitcoin. He has developed countless best practices for tracing and recovering lost or stolen cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or other digital assets across multiple jurisdictions for both businesses and individuals and currently serves as the blockchain litigation lead at the law firm Shoosmiths.
The pair considered the meaning behind the term ‘asset-recovery-as-a-service’, the fundamental need for process improvements and our work with government and law enforcement agencies around the world. They also discussed how our software solution and training programs could provide practical assistance to officers facing many of the industry’s common challenges.
Aidan was thankful for the wonderful opportunity to share what we’re building:
“A big thanks to Matt Green, Andrew Bowden-Brown and the team at Shoosmiths for the invitation to appear on this great podcast series. We’re proud to be playing our part at Asset Reality in training and providing software solutions for the recovery and management of seized assets that will ultimately help improve the prospects for victims in asset recovery cases.”
01:26 - Aidan’s background in digital asset recovery
04:26 - The current problems with asset recovery
09:26 - What is asset-recovery-as-a-service?
11:35 - What does Asset Reality do?
15:32 - Asset Reality’s long-term vision
19:40 - The lack of support for victims
36:12 - Asset Reality’s work in the public sector
43:35 - Asset Reality’s seized asset management platform
52:56 - The Asset Reality Team
Aidan began the interview by explaining that the UK government does not have a centralised asset management office to oversee assets that have been seized during a criminal investigation. This means that agencies in this jurisdiction must rely on auction houses to manage their portfolios of lost or stolen assets. He continued by highlighting how his background in criminal investigations and his previous role as the world’s first Bitcoin auctioneer were able to give him a unique perspective on the current state of the asset recovery and management industry.
While travelling the world as a lecturer for the United Nations (UN), Aidan saw that each country he visited was experiencing the same problems when trying to organise their assets and was inspired to create a software solution focused on digital asset-recovery-as-a-service.
“That’s what led to the creation of Asset Reality…We knew there was a lot of low-hanging fruit that we could tackle and give governments and private sector entities an off-the-shelf solution to asset recovery.”
After clarifying the meaning behind asset-recovery-as-a-service, Aidan described the problems caused by forcing asset recovery practitioners to balance complex blockchain analytic tools with incredibly analogue processes that are reliant on complicated spreadsheets, manual input and ancient legacy systems.
He went on to describe the software solutions provided by Asset Reality that separate us from a traditional consultancy and our long-term vision to futureproof the industry with ongoing support and training.
“We’re trying to… help them identify the problems, find out what the solutions are but then leave an infrastructure behind so that as people retire, people change jobs and people move on, there’s a bedrock of infrastructure left behind. That’s our main mission.”
Matt and Aidan considered the similarities between the theft of physical and digital assets, recent research into pig butchering scams and the high risks of re-victimisation before discussing how Asset Reality fell into trying to provide support for victims of crimes involving cryptocurrency assets due to the sheer number of aid requests we received after partnering with digital custodians like MetaMask and Phantom.
They went on to emphasise the speed of digital asset recovery processes and the unique opportunities for improvement before talking about Asset Reality’s work with government and law enforcement agencies in the public sector. Aidan highlighted the major problems that prevent law enforcement from being able to tackle the current issues in digital asset recovery; such as lack of funding, resources and staff and the need for more education, tools and support; before discussing our strategic pilot programs with government agencies in cryptocurrency hotspots like the Seychelles, Belgium and Jamaica.
As the interview drew to a close, Matt and Aidan spoke about our asset recovery partnerships with digital custodians like MetaMask and Phantom and our efforts to act as a central repository for victim-focused education and advice. They outlined the need for patience in cryptocurrency investigations, the possibilities of increased returns and the importance of reporting.
Matt and Aidan concluded the interview by mentioning some of the great work being done by the team at Asset Reality. He gave special mention to our co-founder Nick Furneaux, one of the world’s leading authorities on blockchain analytics and the author of the book ‘Investigating Cryptocurrencies’ and to our Chief Recovery Officer Joanna Summers, who managed the sale of Bitcoin involved in the infamous Silk Road case.
If you would like to know more about our work in crypto-related frauds and asset recovery, contact email@example.com
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