Ethics & Cryptocurrency Recovery
“Will you be able to recover my cryptocurrency?”
“What is the likelihood that you’ll be able to recover my cryptocurrency?”
“What are the chances of my stolen cryptocurrency being recovered if I hire you?”
“Can you recover stolen cryptocurrency?”
“How long is it likely to take for my stolen cryptocurrency to be recovered?”
“In what percentage of cases is cryptocurrency successfully recovered?”
As victims sometimes approach us with ill-conceived notions of our capabilities, and of what we do, it’s important to us to state upfront exactly what we can do, and what we cannot do. It’s very important to us for such individuals to be on the same page as us on what, exactly, they are hiring us for, what they can expect from us, and what they should not expect from us.
There is no such thing as a legitimate cryptocurrency recovery agency. Anyone that suggests otherwise is either trying to mislead or defraud in our opinion. However, hiring a reputable and experienced cryptocurrency investigative agency can lead to improved (or at least less abysmal) prospects of cryptocurrency recovery with the help and action of other parties, such as law enforcement.
Cryptoforensic Investigators is a small distributed team of investigators with deep experience in cryptocurrency-related investigations and forensics. Our investigators have worked on hundreds of cases where victims have had cryptocurrency stolen from them in one form or another.
While a portion of the cases we have worked on led to a significant amount of cryptocurrency being recovered, we do not consider ourselves to be a cryptocurrency recovery firm nor would we say that ‘we’ recovered this cryptocurrency when recoveries happen. This is because in almost all cases (with very limited exceptions) we do not have the ability to effectuate cryptocurrency recovery solely by ourselves.
Rather, whether or not any cryptocurrency ends up being recovered depends on a plethora of factors, many of which are completely outside our control, including:
Whether or not law enforcement and/or a prosecutor's office is willing to pursue the matter, and if so to what ends they are willing to pursue it.
Where, how, and what methods the fraudster ends up using to try and launder the ill-gotten cryptocurrency.
What exchanges end up receiving (or have already received) the ill-gotten funds, what their compliance policies and procedures are, how cooperative they are with law enforcement, and how responsive they are to us.
What ‘mistakes’ the fraudsters may make when attempting to launder the funds or otherwise during the course of the fraud.
Jurisdictional challenges associated with further pursuing the matter.
What further actions you may be willing and capable to take to further pursue this. E.g. in some cases we may find it advisable to hire an attorney in an effort to obtain a TRO and freeze certain funds or exchange accounts.
In situations where a victim is able to successfully recover some of the cryptocurrency that was stolen from them, we do not make statements that ‘we’ recovered it, because ‘we’ didn’t recover it ourselves, and suggesting we did is frankly insulting to other parties that have played a critically important role as well.
Any prospective clientele that wishes to engage us for our services must understand that they are hiring us as an investigative service (not a recovery service) to investigate and produce intelligence related to their incident; they are not hiring us to recover any cryptocurrency per se. At most, one could say that we investigate ‘in service of recovery’ or ‘with the aim of it leading to improved recovery chances.’
We cannot make any representations or warrants with respect to cryptocurrency recovery in an individual’s situation, since this isn’t a service we offer. So the literal answer to the question “What are the chances you’ll be able to recover my cryptocurrency?,” if answered literally, is typically pretty much zero because we almost certainly will not have the ability to effectuate recovery ourselves.
Our investigators can and often do play an instrumental role in providing intelligence as well as taking various actions that lead to improved likelihood of recovery, or more often partial recovery.
We can and often will make representations to prospective clients about the prospects and/or leads in an incident they have come to us with, and provide an expert opinion (from an actual investigator, not a salesperson) about whether or not we think it’s genuinely advisable or worthwhile to engage us on the matter or not.
Some matters are naturally more promising than others. If we think it’s genuinely advisable (a large portion of inquiries we receive aren’t), we will then typically present an engagement offer.
For reference, we typically only work on cases where the loss is at least 100k USD, although we do at least consider cases where the loss is between 50k-100k USD on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature and prospects of the case.
Cryptocurrency Expert Witness
Values and Ethos
Cryptoforensic Investigators does not employ salespeople or business development representatives to deal with inquiries. Our investigators deal with all inquiries themselves.
This is firstly because salespeople generally lack an appropriate technical understanding of the situation, which can easily lead to a salesperson to unintentionally (or in some cases even intentionally) misrepresent the situation. Investigators understand these situations, and are in a much better position to present the facts and prospects of the situation accurately to any potential client wishing to engage us so that they can be better informed when it comes time for them to make a decision on whether or not to engage us.
This is secondly because a salesperson’s job is to sell, of course. Their ability to sell is the metric upon which they are judged, and salespeople are naturally going to be commissioned to some degree – the more and the higher they sell the more they personally earn. The alignment of incentives in this scenario is such that it can easily lead the salesperson to ‘sell’ services and represent the situation in a biased or even misleading way that makes the prospective client more likely to enter into the engagement.
The only way to fix this misalignment of incentives is for actual investigators to deal with inquiries directly (not salespeople) and for investigators not to be commissioned based on engagement packages they do or don’t sell. This is why Cryptoforensic Investigators does not have salespeople.
Additionally, we operate on a retainer basis and our retainers are structured as refundable so that if a client wants to discontinue the engagement at any point, they receive the retainer back less any time/charges already billed to the retainer.