Review: Investigating Cryptocurrencies: Understanding, Extracting, and Analyzing Blockchain Evidence

I find Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies endlessly fascinating. They hit a number of my personal interests, in particular low cryptography and level network protocols/data formats. I’m generally familiar with how blockchains work in general and have actually played a bit with demo implementations of the same technology. That being said, there are a lot of details on the business and variety between different technologies that I find less than knowledgeable about.

The book will not help you build your own cryptocurrency.

The book is not a detailed technical deconstruction of the technologies behind cryptocurrencies, although I do cover them in sufficient detail for you to be able to understand the concepts and explain them to others.


You probably didn’t become an investigator because mathematics was your strong point or you wanted to spend your workdays enjoying the beauty of hashing algorithms and Elliptic Curve Cryptography schemes.


Part II : Carrying Out Investigations

Right. So this was not the book I thought it was. It was still fascinating. The first part gives a pretty solid perspective on a few common crytocurrencies, although I’m not sure if it would be as easy to understand if you hadn’t already understood them decently already. And then the entire rest of the book is instead focused to help you investigate crimes involving cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies. Fascinating reading. Not something I’m currently interested in at the moment.

A solid enough book, probably more useful for someone other than me. So it goes.

Random aside:

I often see this attitude amongst investigators when it comes to anything that obfuscates computer communication or hides data. When investigating a computer with a VPN client on it, if storage encryption is turned on, a Tor client is installed, or even if a browser cache has been recently purged, the assumption is that the owner “must have something to hide.” I regularly argue that many reasons exist why someone would have all or any of these software tools on their computer—they may have something to hide, but it’s not actually illegal or they just value their right to privacy. Sadly, I’m usually wrong, and the computer owner generally does have something bad to hide—but it’s nice to think the best of people, isn’t it?

Sounds like me. I bet if anyone looked at my setup, I would look guilty as hell…