Posted 2 years ago | by Ben Armstrong

US and South Korean Governments busted a massive child pornography ring by tracking down Bitcoin transactions.

Bloomberg reports that IRS Criminal Investigation Division joined Homeland Security, IRS, The U.K.'s National Crime Agency with the investigation. "Don Fort, chief of the division, said they determined the location of the Darknet server in South Korea, identified Son and found the physical location of the website. They also unmasked users hiding behind Bitcoin transactions, Fort said.

“Our agency’s ability to analyze the blockchain and de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions allowed for the identification of hundreds of predators around the world,” Fort said. “The scale of this crime is eye-popping and sickening.”"

The owner of the Welcome the Video website was arrested for money laundering and child pornography charges. The website allowed users to upload videos; 45% of the illicit images authorities had not previously seen.

Authorities report that 23 minor victims were rescued in U.S., U.K., and Spain. Those victims were actively being abused during the duration of the site which was active from 2015 to 2018.

Since March 2018, 337 site users have been arrested worldwide. People in 38 countries were arrested; countries include Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Not to mention, two dozen U.S. states.

Prosecutors filed a civil forfeiture complaint to seize 24 cryptocurrency accounts of users. Users could upgrade their website account by giving Bitcoin valued at $353 in March 2018.

The Darknet is defined as encrypted online content that is hidden from traditionally used search engines. The Darknet is a popular use for crimes such as money laundering, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking. Cryptocurrency is often used in such crimes when individuals around the world seek to anonymously move money.

Crimes like this are one of the reasons the general population is hesitant to adopt cryptocurrency.