cover image Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency

Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency

Andy Greenberg. Doubleday, $32.50 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-54809-0

In this sobering account, cybersecurity reporter Greenberg (Sandworm) delves into the efforts of law enforcement agencies and cybersleuths to trace criminal activity involving cryptocurrency, starting with the takedown in 2013 of Silk Road, “the sprawling, Bitcoin-based, billion-dollar online black market for dark web narcotics sales, created by a pseudonymous figure known as the Dread Pirate Roberts.” It took the FBI, IRS, and DHS two-and-a-half years of dogged research to identify the site’s founder as Ross Ulbricht, a 29-year-old Texan with no criminal record, and arrest him in a San Francisco library. Other operations have targeted child pornography websites and ransomware attacks. Greenberg examines in fascinating detail how criminals have employed technology for their nefarious ends, along the way providing a history of Bitcoin and a look at a possible future technology that would make “truly untraceable and anonymous finances possible.” He brings to vivid life the assorted players, including the agents who cracked the crimes, those in law enforcement who succumbed to the allure of fast money on the dark web, and the private citizens who ushered in the golden age of cryptocurrency tracing. This is a must-have for the true crime shelf. Agent: Eric Lupfer, Fletcher & Co. (Nov.)