Arkham Opens a Can of Worms Nobody Expected

Arkham Intel announced its latest product, an on-chain intelligence exchange allowing people to buy and sell information around addresses. One Twitter user astutely labels this as “dox-to-earn”, as it essentially allows sleuths — or anyone with knowledge of who controls a specific address — to sell this information to willing parties.

Sure, there could be some benefits. This could be a big detriment to scammers and exploiters, as people could put up bounties on their addresses to directly solicit the public to dox these entities for a financial reward. But this could also be done to your average Joe. Now, I know the usual “if you have nothing to hide, you don’t need privacy” people will inevitably show up, but there are also some holes in how all of this is going to be executed.

For example, at the end of this video you’re greeted by this comforting image.


The Arkham Foundation is going to verify and vet all data and address labels. So this isn’t really a permissionless product (they never claim it is in the announcement). It’s kind of like Nansen (which I love) but with some dark twists that create financial incentives to dox people. If you thought Chainalysis was bad, this is a whole other level.

Getting information right is also going to be an onerous task. As one Twitter user pointed out, information flow has often been wrong but accepted as truth by the general public until proven otherwise. Proving that someone’s claim is genuine and true isn’t as easy as “don’t worry, we’re going to vet this” when there is money on the line. It also seems to severely limit the scale of the platform if each piece of information submitted on the intel exchange has to be verified by the foundation team.

Arkham has been working with the likes of ZachXBT — who most of us agree is a stand up fella’ — for quite a while now. People like Zach have often found it difficult to monetize their skills and what they do for the general public, and Arkham seems to be attempt to bridge that gap. But creating a whole platform with financial incentives to dox addresses — however well-intentioned — sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. And I’m happy to be wrong about all of this.

Oh btw, in all of this, they also announced a token and its listing on Binance Launchpad. Talk about a roller coaster ride.

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This has set off so many alarm bells in my head lol.

Just read their whitepaper here:
so many questions... what are some other immediate flaws you see?

In no particular order:

  • Centralized intel verification is not scalable
  • Ability for a single entity to create misleading labels by creating a bounty with one account and fulfilling it (with incorrect data) with a second account
  • Looking over points 1 and 2, intel verification becomes borderline impossible. It's not like the Arkham Foundation has info flow that is orders of magnitude better than other mkt participants
  • Token is probably unnecessary. I'm sure people would rather put up and receive bounties in ETH or USDC over ARKM tokens.