Central Banks Look to Surveil Crypto via New ‘Project Atlas’

Project Atlas emerges, spotlighting the delicate balance between the need for oversight and preserving the decentralized spirit of cryptocurrencies.

Man picking up an ETH coin, lots of mechanical eyes seeing what he is going to do with it.
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  • Major banks unveil Project Atlas, a global crypto surveillance initiative. 
  • The project combines on-chain and off-chain data.
  • BIS, De Nederlandsche Bank, and Deutsche Bundesbank lead the initiative.

In the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrencies, the balance between innovation and regulation has always been delicate. With the unveiling of Project Atlas by major central banks, this balance is once again under scrutiny. While the initiative promises oversight and stability, it also raises questions about privacy, autonomy, and the very essence of decentralized finance.

Project Atlas: Enhancing Security or Invading Privacy? 

On Tuesday, October 3, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) made waves in the crypto community by announcing Project Atlas. This comprehensive data platform, developed in collaboration with De Nederlandsche Bank and the Deutsche Bundesbank, aims to monitor and analyze global crypto-asset flows. But as the details of the project emerge, so do concerns.


The promise of Project Atlas is clear: By combining on-chain and off-chain data, it offers a detailed view of the crypto landscape, potentially aiding in fraud detection, ensuring financial stability, and providing valuable insights for policymakers. However, this very surveillance capability is a double-edged sword. 

While it can bring transparency and security, it also raises questions about the privacy and autonomy that many in the crypto community hold dear. 

How Project Atlas Works: A Deep Dive

Project Atlas stands out as a sophisticated data platform designed to provide a comprehensive view of the crypto landscape. Its methodology is rooted in the combination of on-chain and off-chain data. On-chain information, extracted directly from public blockchains, offers a transparent record of all transactions on a given crypto network. In contrast, off-chain data from crypto exchanges provides insights into trading volumes, user activity, and other pertinent metrics. 

By merging these two data types, Project Atlas ensures accuracy and a true representation of the crypto market’s dynamics. A significant focus of the project’s proof of concept phase is on international flows of crypto assets. Project Atlas can effectively map cross-border capital flows by analyzing transactions between crypto exchanges, especially on networks like Bitcoin, and associating them with their geographical locations. 


One of the project’s standout features is its ability to visualize these flows. The data is presented on a globe, offering a user-friendly visual representation, making it more accessible for policymakers and researchers. This geographical mapping, which links on-chain transactions to specific crypto exchanges and their locations, clearly shows asset movements across borders.

On the Flipside

  • While many in the crypto space worry about more surveillance, some in the crypto industry welcome clearer regulation. Notably, regulation is a prerequisite for institutional players joining the space. 
  • Crypto insiders have previously raised concerns about the potential of stringent regulation to inadvertently stifle innovation. 

Why This Matters

Project Atlas underscores crypto assets’ growing importance and recognition in the traditional financial ecosystem. 

Read more about BIS initiatives in blockchain: 
CBDCs Set to Reshape Global Finance After Successful BIS Trial

Read more about the rising security concerns in Web3: 
As Web3 Security Demands Rise, Validation Cloud Steps Up

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

David Marsanic

David Marsanic is a journalist for DailyCoin who covers the intersection of crypto, traditional finance, and government. He focuses on institutionalized crypto entities like major cryptocurrency exchanges and Solana, breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand writing. David's prior experience as a business journalist at various crypto and traditional news sites has enabled him to maintain a critical approach to news while adhering to high journalistic integrity standards.