Irish students developing bitcoin credit-check database

3 Feb 2015

Bitcoin image via BTC Keychain/Flickr

A team of students and staff from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is aiming to make bitcoin more secure with the creation of a bitcoin credit-check database to make the cryptocurrency more transparent.

They believe that with the addition of such a database, businesses would be more inclined to use it given that it would reduce the risk of fraud in a currency which has seen major instances of hacking and theft occur during its brief existence.

To achieve this, the team from TCD believe that the creation of a regulator of-sorts could be achieved that would balance the fine balance between ensuring no fraud takes place through tracking accounts, while keeping the crypto-currencies anonymity and de-regulated system, both of which are part of the currency’s major appealing factors to its users.

To achieve the levels of transparency that the team wanted to create with bitcoin, TCD masters student Cian Burns found that to chart the amount of money and number of users was not too difficult with access to the right programs and databases which, over time, can chart an account’s activity.

Once someone goes public with a bitcoin address – say in an email asking for payment – all related addresses can be found to help paint a picture of their activity over time, according to Burns.

“The big benefit of such a picture is that if an address is involved in fraudulent activity, tracing related addresses could protect other users from further fraud,” said Burns.

“Our trawl gave us a unique insight into some very high-profile Bitcoin fraud cases that were being conducted across the world. Regulation is further down the line, but a database of accounts could certainly protect people and raise the appeal of Bitcoin for legitimate businesses.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic