Ethereum block explorer Etherscan adds surveillance feature

One of Ethereum’s most popular block explorers is launching a monitoring feature that scans for illegal activity.

Etherescan will now blacklist “tainted” wallets. The Every Transaction Hash Protect (that’s ETHProtect, for short) will allow Etherscan users to examine incoming funds to see if they originate from illicit gains such as hacks, phishing schemes, or other scams. 

Once funds are flagged, users can trace them to the source of contamination. When users interface with one of these contaminated wallets on Etherscan, they are greeted with a red banner, warning them that the funds in the wallet are associated with some sketchy activity (like, for example, ETH filched from the November UpBit hack). 

These marked addresses are pinned with a red shield, which will give users access to the funds’ transaction history and origin. When broken down, you can view the address and transaction hash that originally tainted the coins, where they were before they were tainted, and how many hops they’ve made since they were tainted.

Etherscan has become one of the most widely used and integrated Ethereum block explorers since it launched in 2015. And widespread use has bestowed Etherscan with a trove of user data. This data, coupled with the crypto community’s penchant for chronicling exchange hacks and other dastardly acts, has allowed it to keep tabs on tainted funds.

“Etherscan receives daily user reports on suspicious fraudulent activities which are reviewed and verified by our security research analysts,” an Etherscan blog post reads. “Once identified, these tainted addresses are then added into our database.” 

Decrypt asked Etherscan what other methods of data collection it uses, the potential for false positives, and how wallets are informed that allegedly tainted funds are on hold, but the team did not immediately respond.

Etherscan said in its announcement, however, that users who suspect their addresses have been wrongly flagged will be…

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