Anonymity is one of the highest values in the world of crypto—and one Texas-based startup is attempting to uproot it in the name of transparency.
- Austin-based startup Arkham Intelligence has created an online marketplace to sell blockchain data and deanonymize users, Forbes reports.
- The exchange—which reportedly already hots 500,000 registered users—recently announced a service that allows users to buy and post bounties for information on individual users on the blockchain.
- The company recently changed its tagline to “Deanonymizing The Blockchain.”
- Arkham has personally posted bounties for information on the FTX hacker who stole $415 million as well as for info on Elon Musk’s personal crypto wallet.
- The company was founded by 23-year-old Miguel Morel, with investments from Tim Draper, Bedrock Capital, Wintermute, GSR Markets, OpenAI, and Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale—whose connections to the government have led to online accusations that the CIA backs the company.
Why It’s Important
Arkham has not gone over well with online cryptocurrency communities. The crypto world holds anonymity, privacy, and decentralization as two of its highest values and virtues, which Arkham knowingly violates for profit. Crypto proponents on Twitter have taken to dismissing the startup as a “dox-to-earn program” which violates user privacy.
“In effect, their hope is to do in the open what Chainalysis and others do in private. This is more dangerous insofar as Arkham Intelligence incentivizes snitching,” says Nym Technologies CEO Harry Halpin, who dismisses the startup as “utterly disgraceful” and called for the crypto community on Twitter to disown it.
As Morel tells Forbes, the cryptocurrency economy is a murky and dark place in need of greater transparency and accountability. He views his work with Arkham as a public service to help the industry combat cybercrime.
He also claims that the exchange guidelines will prevent Arkham from being abused maliciously, claiming that the website only hosts publicly available info and bans selling sensitive personal information. He views the work he is doing as being inevitable and imagines most of the customers using the exchange will be traders and hedge funds.
“My goal for the marketplace, the intel exchange, is for anybody to be able to make requests and post information that could be very meaningful in this space, either because it provides alpha for trading and investment or because it helps with risk management, exposing some major fraud,” says Morel.
Arkham Intelligence faced some controversy earlier this month when it turned out that referrals to the website were allegedly doxing users’ email addresses for the past several months, CoinDesk reports.