Deals: A startup that helps police track criminals using bitcoin just raised $5 million

By Stan Higgins for

Bitcoin surveillance startup Elliptic has raised $5m in Series A funding in a round that involved a private equity firm with strong US defense and intelligence connections.

Paladin Capital Group led the round, which also drew support from Santander InnoVentures, KRW Schindler, Digital Currency Group and Octopus Ventures, an existing investor in the firm.

Paladin counts former National Security Agency director and retired Lieutenant General Kenneth Minihan among its leadership. The firm, according to its website, invests primarily in companies focused on defense, cybersecurity and intelligence products and services.

Minihan indicated that Paladin would lobby for Elliptic’s blockchain intelligence tools to gain broader usage among US law enforcement agencies, remarking in a statement:

“We recognise that the firm’s monitoring capability will be an essential component of any blockchain in the future and we will help Elliptic to expand in the US, via our contacts and knowledge of US law enforcement and government agencies.”

UK-based Elliptic raised $2m in seed funding in 2014 after launching an insured bitcoin storage service in January of that year.

Elliptic co-founder and CEO Dr. James Smith said that the round will help support Elliptic’s expansion plans.

“Our new investors bring deep expertise in law enforcement, international financial services, and blockchain technology and we are excited to work with them on our next phase of growth,” he said. “We have already been able to expand operations to the US and will continue to extend our portfolio of products.”

The funding comes as some global regulators, particularly in Europe, look to expand oversight of bitcoin transactions, particularly in connection with exchanges that trade digital currencies for government-issued currencies. In February, the European Commission said it wanted to undertake a process of “ending the anonymity associated with such exchanges”.

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