After promising a $670 reward for information on Elon Musk’s cryptocurrency wallet, Arkham, a recently formed site dubbed the “Intel Exchange,” sparked debate in the cryptocurrency world. The program, which just went online, enables users to submit rewards in exchange for knowledge about blockchain transactions and wants to involve cryptocurrency aficionados in looking into and identifying people or organizations responsible for significant crypto thefts.
The $160 million hack of trading company Wintermute and the roughly $200 million exploit of Nomad’s token bridge are two of the most significant unsolved crypto heists mentioned on Arkham’s website. The most well-known bounty that is presently available is a reward of 100,000 Arkham (ARKM) tokens, which is roughly comparable to $70,000, for information on the $415 million that was taken from FTX immediately after the firm declared bankruptcy.
The Arkham Intel Exchange, billed as the first on-chain “intelligence marketplace” in the world, aims to address the rising need for on-chain analysis and create a decentralized intel-to-earn economy that would enable on-chain researchers to be compensated with tokens for their work.
However, the platform’s introduction has sparked worries about privacy and security in the cryptocurrency industry. Critics contend that the ethos of anonymity that the sector promotes is violated by paying to identify and expose crypto users. Additionally, there are concerns that paying rewards for this information may encourage corruption and violence.
WickdNFT, a Twitter user, voiced discontent with the Arkham update and stated worries that criminal actors would start initiatives only to gather information about alternative wallets and sell it. If the incentives are substantial enough, there are also concerns of corrupt crypto exchange staff carrying out the same actions.
After it was revealed that Arkham had exposed the private information of its users through its weblink referral scheme, the platform came under even more criticism. Although the referral URLs looked to be random strings of letters and numbers, they were really Base64-encoded representations of the users’ email addresses. Because of this, anybody who unintentionally published their Arkham link risked losing their anonymity or, at the very least, their email addresses.
Despite the controversy, Arkham CEO Miguel Morel has defended the initiative, pointing out that material submitted for rewards must be made public and cannot contain private information like addresses or financial information.
Despite this, Arkham has been able to acquire fundraising rounds totaling over $10 million, giving the firm a $150 million valuation. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, Bedrock Capital, Wintermute Trading, GSR Markets, and the creators of Palantir and OpenAI are a few notable investors.
The Arkham Intel Exchange’s privacy issues have caused contentious discussions within the cryptocurrency community, with supporters and detractors arguing about the platform’s influence on the anonymity and safety culture in the industry. It is unclear how the platform will solve these issues as it develops while attempting to advance the goals of the crypto sleuths and investigators it seeks to engage.