On June 27th and 28th, 2022, the ARIN-CARIB Secretariat and Presidency, currently held by the Cayman Islands, hosted the first training workshop for the year for its membership. This event, entitled ‘Demystifying Cryptocurrencies” aimed to introduce and sensitize its membership, consisting of law enforcement investigators and other criminal justice practitioners on the seizure, investigation, tracking, monitoring and management of crypto/virtual assets. This training was deemed critical at this time as due to cryptocurrency’s imminent introduction into the existing legacy financial system, it is imperative that law enforcement officers are trained and positioned to identify and investigate this new asset class.

The workshop, attended by the ARIN-CARIB membership as well as representatives from regional law enforcement agencies including the Customs and Excise Departments, Inland Revenue Departments and Financial Investigation Units, was facilitated by an impressive lineup of regional and international specialists in Cryptocurrency related investigations. Those are as follows:

Mr. Glenn Robinson, a senior officer with the National Crime Agency introduced participants to best practices in conducting searches, seizures and investigations focused on cryptocurrencies and virtual assets.

He was followed by Mr. Dale Joseph, CARICOM IMPACS’ Cybercrime Policy Specialist, who also shared and outlined best practices, but in using digital devices to advance cryptocurrency and virtual assets investigations.

Mr. Daniel Hernandez of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service provided that entity’s perspective in addressing cryptocurrencies and virtual assets within the law enforcement space.

Mr. Iggy Azad, A Director of the UK based Coinbase delved into the utilization of Analytical Tools in Crypto Investigations and shared with participants the best tools and resources available to aid in effective cryptocurrency/virtual asset tracking and investigations.

The final presenter was Mr. Aidan Larkin, the CEO of Asset Reality and the world’s first seized crypto auctioneer. He shared with participants the best practices involved in seizing, storing and managing assets of this nature.

Each presenter at the workshop came from an extensive law enforcement background and as such they were well positioned to provide investigative, legal and procedural advice to the participants for use when and if faced with an investigation which involves cryptocurrencies or virtual assets.

The workshop culminated with a practical exercise and panel discussion on the second day, during which time the participants’ knowledge and investigative techniques were tested in a mock investigation scenario. An appetite for training in this area was apparent, as evidenced by the robust discussions and success of the panel discussion.

By the workshop’s conclusion, a great appreciation for this rising asset class, for the need to be educated on methods of detecting criminal activity in the crypto space, for the need for greater awareness of the challenges which cryptocurrencies potentially present and a desire for ongoing training which assists law enforcement officers in understanding, identifying, investigating and prosecuting activities which involve cryptocurrencies in this area was expressed by all participants.