CipherTrace Launches ‘Armada’ Crypto Tracing Tool for Banks and Institutions


Blockchain analytical firm CipherTrace, has finished developing Armada – a tool that monitors bank transactions and identifies payments made to virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that pose a high risk.

The announcement was made on Tuesday. Armada takes banking indicators like account numbers and routing into consideration when searching for transactions that pose an institutional risk. Payments made to crypto ATMs are included in these transactions, as they have been linked to money laundering many times in the past.

What Sets Armada Apart?

When compared to other investigations programs, Armada stands out from the crowd because it focuses on payments across the established financial infrastructure.

Most of the other tools used for crypto analytics, including the ones from CipherTrace, are known to trace payments that take place in between wallet addresses while scouting for potential troubles and omitting the banks.

Law enforcement investigators and exchanges use these tools most of the time. But Armada is perfect for banks. It enters the transaction monitoring systems, explained CipherTrace’s chief financial analyst, John Jefferies.

From here, it oversees illegal activity by using clustering algorithms and machine learning, all while also employing CipherTrace’s database of high-risk entities.

The Days of Hidden Accounts Are Numbered

Catherine Woneis, the Vice President of Product Management at Armada said that entering the banks’ transaction monitoring system:

“[…] enables Armada to catch money services businesses (MSB) that may be obscuring their true nature through different names or hidden accounts”

The case of Kunal Kalra, an unlicensed Bitcoin (BTC) seller, was given by the investigations firm as an example of how Armada works. In August last year, Kalra pled guilty and admitted he ran an unlicensed crypto MSB that drug dealers used. Bank transfers under fake names were made to a Gemini account.

Furthermore, around $25 million in both cash and crypto was exchanged at an unknown BTC ATM. Federal investigators busted Kalra after 3 years since he started his activity. CipherTrace said Armada would have traced the cybercriminal much earlier. When it comes to the connections between VASPs and bankers, Jefferies added that:

“Armada helps VASPs open and keep bank accounts, which is critically important because they typically have problems maintaining banker relationships that can lead to risky behaviour.”

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