FICO Patent Filing Hints at Plans for Bitcoin Exchange Monitoring

The company behind the FICO credit scoring system is looking at how to collect information from bitcoin exchanges as part of a new anti-money laundering product, new public documents show.

A patent application from FICO, published September 21, details a programmable system for detecting potentially illicit transactions and flagging them for future review. That information would then be used to develop “threat scores” to be utilized by bank anti-money laundering specialists, according to the filing.

Included in the document is a description of how the system could be utilized to track information from bitcoin exchanges as part of the scoring model.

The text states:

“Because emerging payment systems such as mobile and cryptocurrencies may have limited interaction with traditional financial institutions, there are more limited opportunities to detect laundering which involves them. To improve detection, a cloud based data store integrates information from multiple sources, including: … a) Entities associated with legal and illicit bitcoin exchanges [and] b) Entities associated with mobile payment and remittance networks.”

FICO goes on to state that “it is important to collect and centralize information on legal exchanges and administrators (miners, etc.),” indicating that the system could be applied to other parts of the bitcoin ecosystem beyond exchange operators.

Further suggesting that such information might be gathered covertly, the filing adds: “Having information on legal bitcoin operators helps the AML Threat Score learn their behavior, and detect changes in their behavior that may signal new illicit use (without explicit knowledge of the operator).”

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