Bitcoin ETF approvals in the US boost demand for Crystal Blockchain tools

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The recent approval of Bitcoin ETFs in the US has brought both excitement and challenges, as bad actors seek to exploit the hype for illicit gains. Marina Khaustova, COO of Crystal, a blockchain analytics firm, shared her insights into the evolving landscape in an interview with Crypto Briefing.

The approval of Bitcoin ETFs further accelerated demand for Crystal’s products, particularly from traditional companies seeking to ensure compliance as they enter the crypto space.

“And there’s no way for any traditional financial company right now to explain to their board of directors that we should not take digital currencies, because probably it’s a scam. Not anymore,” said Marina in a interview at Paris Blockchain Week.

Marina noted that while there was a pause in activity among American customers during the crypto winter, demand from the APAC region remained strong throughout.

Crystal, which has been serving customers for the past five years, provides analysis software to help companies understand and mitigate risks associated with operating in the digital asset space.

“Every builder, every company operating in digital asset space has to be concerned about how protected they are from internal risks, how well the solution is built, how well the security is established, and also, like, who they interact with,” Marina explained.

Crystal has seen a steady growth in demand from APAC customers, and with the appointment of former Ripple Director, Navin Gupta as CEO, they are now better equipped to support clients in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well.

“Having Navin Gupta joining us brings incredible experience to us because we are transforming from a startup to scale up and we’re serving now as an enterprise,” Marina noted. “I’m super grateful that we’re having right now such experience, such a senior person as Navin with us.”

When asked about the best jurisdictions for crypto businesses in terms of regulations, Marina highlighted the challenge of crypto being a cross-border phenomenon. Initiatives like the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation in Europe are seen as positive steps towards simplifying coordination within territories.

“Introducing MiCA as a general anti-money laundering effort is very good because it just simplifies all this coordination within a big territory comprising many countries together,” Marina explained.

Looking ahead, Marina believes that while a global standard for crypto regulation is likely to emerge, there will still be regional specifics to navigate, similar to the varied approaches to online gambling regulation worldwide. She emphasized the importance of blockchain analytics firms collaborating to share information about illicit actors and promote transparency in the space.

Romance scams, also known as “pig butchering,” have emerged as a significant concern in recent years. These emotionally manipulative schemes often target vulnerable individuals and are powered by human trafficking operations in countries like Myanmar and Cambodia.

“It’s really bad. The worst part of that is that these romance scams are powered by compounds built in Myanmar, in Cambodia, where people are literally living, like, in prisons, and they’re forced to do this job to scam people. So it actually involves a lot of human trafficking at the same time,” Marina revealed.

For those interested in exploring the world of blockchain analytics, Crystal offers a free version of their software called Crystal Lite, which is specifically designed for Bitcoin analysis. This tool is popular among journalists and young researchers, and Crystal also provides their solution to university researchers at no cost.

To stay informed about the latest developments in the blockchain analytics space, readers can follow Nick Smart, Crystal’s Director of Blockchain Intelligence, on LinkedIn, where he regularly shares insights on topics such as romance scams and other emerging trends.

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