Out of 200,000 Bitcoin Transactions, Only 2% Were Illicit, MIT’s AI Lab Affirms


Everybody in the crypto industry knows how some people have a pretty bad opinion of Bitcoin. Said to be the currency used by scammers and criminals, Bitcoin is often the target of severe criticism. Fortunately, a recent experiment made by the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab has proved that only a small fraction of the Bitcoin transactions are illegal.

In a collaboration between the Elliptic blockchain analytics company with the MIT, 203,769 BTC transactions were evaluated using machine learning. These transactions amounted to around $6 billion USD. By using the technology, it was discovered that only around 2% of them were illicit.

21% of the transactions were deemed as lawful and 77% were deemed as “unclassified”, meaning that they were not proved as a criminal but also lacked enough data to be understood as lawful as well.

In recent research, Chainalysis affirmed that only 1% of the transactions were criminal, so the numbers seem about right, proving that only a small portion of all BTC transactions can actually be linked to crimes.

The research, which was paid for Elliptic, had the goal of discovering patterns that could identify when crypto transactions are being used to break the law. According to the founder of Elliptic, Tom Robinson, one of the main problems with compliance is that it has several false positives. Research is used often as a way to minimize these false positives and to discover the patterns more thoroughly.

It can be said that the research was somewhat successful in finding these patterns. Robinson affirmed that the software discovered some transactions that were linked to ransomware attacks and other crimes.

The data will become public soon, according to the MIT researcher Mark Weber. Part of the reason for that is to share the experiments so that the experts can understand more about these patterns and work towards a more secure world.

He also affirmed that with the release of the study, they hope to inspire others in doing the same and creating a more compliant and safer online financial system.

The results are certainly interesting. Unfortunately, 77% of the transactions were neither confirmed nor denied to be lawful. This means that there is still a huge gap in what can be discovered with the current technology.

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