Brazil Crypto Report
Brazil Crypto Report
Episode #103: Crypto Crime in 2024 with Chainalysis' Gurvais Grigg

Episode #103: Crypto Crime in 2024 with Chainalysis' Gurvais Grigg

Former FBI official and Chainalysis's public sector CTO discusses how criminals are using crypto in 2024 and how law enforcement is responding

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Olá pessoal!

For today’s episode I’m joined by Gurvais Grigg, who is chief technology officer for public sector at blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

Gurvais and I were able to record on location at the B Hotel in Brasilia during his recent visit, where we discussed the always uncomfortable topic of cryptocurrencies being used for illicit purposes. It’s not something that folks in this industry like to talk about, but it’s a critical piece of the puzzle that needs to be constantly addressed

Quite frankly, there are few people on the planet better positioned than Gurvais to talk about this. Prior to joining Chainalysis, he was Assistant Director at the FBI, where he focused on fighting financial crime and following the money trails of criminal enterprises (crypto, fiat and otherwise) for more than two decades.

His experience at the highest levels of US law enforcement gives him a truly unique perspective on the public safety challenges and opportunities related to crypto going mainstream.

In this conversation we discuss the state of crypto crime in 2024, as well how the nature of illicit use cases has broadened significantly since the early days, when crypto was used mainly for ransomware, money laundering and buying contraband online, etc.

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Some key takeaways from this conversation:

  • While most crypto activity is legitimate, criminals will always follow the money. The speed, anonymity, and global liquidity of crypto attracts bad actors, though transparency acts as a deterrent.

  • Nation-state actors like North Korea are running elaborate crypto hacking and theft programs netting billions, though law enforcement has been able to stay on their trial via use of blockchain analytics.

  • Stablecoins have overtaken bitcoin as the highest volume coins traded by illicit actors in recent years due to their liquidity and ease of use.

  • Chainalysis' partnership with Tether provides proactive monitoring and counterparty risk management capabilities to the largest stablecoin.

  • Why he’s excited about the crypto market development and regulatory conversations he’s seeing in Brazil right now

  • As real-world assets like property get tokenized, new criminal risks will emerge that demand continued innovation in analytics tools and regulatory frameworks.

His analysis highlights how the growth of blockchain forensics tools has been a a double-edged sword: it has empowered law enforcement actors to find bad guys, but has prompted criminals to become more sophisticated in their schemes — resulting in an escalating cat-and-mouse game.

Despite all of that, Gurvais is super bullish on crypto and blockchain technology and excited about the role it will play in the financial system of the future. What will be absolutely necessary, he argues, is the development of ultra-scalable analytics tools that multiply the force of individual investigators. As he states: "We've got to build tools and capabilities that allow law enforcement to do the work of a hundred or a thousand."

I learned a lot in this conversation and I hope you do as well. You can connect with Gurvais on Linkedin.

Have a great week everyone,


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