Bitcoin is NOT anonymous
There appears to be a concerning misconception that Bitcoin is somehow anonymous, and it is the best payment method for those wanting to protect their privacy and anonymity. Well, it may surprise you, but Bitcoin is not anonymous. It never was.
Seeing how this misconception is prevalent with Bitcoiners and services accepting this cryptocurrency, the following list of quotes regarding Bitcoin’s anonymity and privacy was prepared.
The quotes, as being mostly short extracts of text from the linked sources, can often be taken out of context. So it is advised to checked the linked resources from which the quotes were taken to get complete information.
The primary aim of this page is to aggregate these links and quotes in one place. The secondary aim is to get you started thinking and doing your own research on Bitcoin’s limitations in terms of privacy and anonymity.
Bitcoin.org (no particular order)
Bitcoin is not anonymous
All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address.
Bitcoin is probably the most transparent payment network in the world.
All Bitcoin transactions are public, traceable, and permanently stored in the Bitcoin network.
Anyone can see the balance and all transactions of any address.
Bitcoin is not anonymous and cannot offer the same level of privacy as cash.
The use of Bitcoin leaves extensive public records.
What if every time you spent or received cash, all the transaction details were published to your Twitter or Facebook feed for all your friends to see? You probably wouldn’t want to use cash any more.
Every confirmed Bitcoin transaction is published to the block chain where anyone can see it.
The risk is that if the owner of a key is revealed, linking could reveal other transactions that belonged to the same owner.
Other sources (chronological order)
Over the years, it became more clear that bitcoin isn’t anonymous at all. All transactions can be traced on the blockchain.
A lot of bitcoin tracking companies started to deanonymize users by using this data and are actively trying to map the whole bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin’s open blockchain and transaction record spanning its entire history has prompted frequent questions about privacy and coin fungibility.
Bitcoin right now is not really anonymous.
This is not great from a privacy perspective. Bitcoin users might not necessarily want the world to know where they spend their money, what they earn or how much they own, while businesses may not want to leak transaction details to competitors – to name some examples.
Bitcoin is not always anonymous
Third parties may be able to track your future transactions [and] trace your previous
The Ups and Downs of Dark Net Markets | Jun 2016
You are not anonymous if you choose to purchase Bitcoin from sources that require ID or bank account details.
ecause Bitcoin keeps a permanent record of bitcoin movements distributed across all computers in the Bitcoin system, it is not as anonymous as physical cash.
Join Me on a Market for Anonymity | Jun 2016
Bitcoin transactions can be traced and histories inspected for known identifiers that allow informed parties to associate the initially pseudonymous account numbers with real-world identities
Bitcoin users enjoy a degree of pseudonymity. However, with all addresses and the associated transactions stored in the public blockchain, an observer can identify relations between them. If this knowledge is enriched with auxiliary information on the real-world identities behind addresses, it becomes possible to deanonymize selected users.
P2P Mixing and Unlinkable P2P Transactions | Jun 2016
Bitcoin transactions sent and received by a particular user are observed to be easily linkable.
Bitcoin right now is not really anonymous.
Bitcoin users might not necessarily want the world to know where they spend their money, what they earn or how much they own, while businesses may not want to leak transaction details to competitors – to name some examples.
Additionally, bitcoins being traceable, possibly “tainted,” and potentially worth less than other bitcoins is at odds with fungibility. This could even challenge Bitcoin’s value proposition as money.
The Five Most Useful Properties of Bitcoin | Jun 2016
Privacy is one of Bitcoin’s most important features, but the reality is that the state of privacy in Bitcoin is quite poor.
A lack of privacy harms Bitcoin’s fungibility, which, in turn, decreases its usefulness as a bearer ecash.
Bitcoin can theoretically be anonymous, but it’s very difficult to achieve today. [theymos]
Money Laundering, Bitcoin and Blockchain: Anonymity, Transparency and Privacy are not Incompatible | May 2016
Bitcoin with its blockchain presents itself as privacy and transparency innovations for financial transactions. However, they beg the observations: if an anonymous ledger is made public, the transparency advantages are lost; and if a ledger containing personal data is published, the transparency objective is achieved at the expense of privacy and the protection of personal data.
With regards to “privacy” and the protection of personal data, the use of pseudonyms cannot be considered to be an anonymization procedure, because by definition anonymization should be irreversible and ensure that the data cannot be traced back to an individual.
Top 5 Bitcoin Myths | May 2016
5. Bitcoin is anonymous
Bitcoin is a double-edged sword for financial privacy.
It allows anyone to conduct financial transactions with anyone else in the world without having to divulge identifying information to intermediaries. However, it requires those transactions to be broadcast to the world.
This arrest comes on the heels of finding out Homeland Security is actively monitoring the Bitcoin blockchain for suspicious activity.
Now that Bitcoin companies are helping law enforcement in tracing these transactions, using cryptocurrency for illegal purposes is becoming less and less appealing.
“SophieCo” Bitcoin fork | May 2016
Bitcoin is traceable, because every transaction is listed publicly [15:30]
Bitcoin is not 100% traceable. Maybe its 75% traceable right now. [0:50]
Bitcoin is far from anonymous, as there is only a slight level of pseudonymity associated with this alternative form of finance.
The privacy issues associated with Bitcoin make it unsuitable for any illegal purpose in general.
bitcoin is now seen by some law enforcement elements as easier to trace than cash
Bitcoin is not 100% traceable. Maybe its 75% traceable right now [0:50]
Top 10 Myths About Bitcoin | May 2016
2. Bitcoin Is Anonymous
Bitcoins: Controversial digital currency in news on creator revelation, host of Indian start-ups | May 2016
Bitcoin is less anonymous than cash in the sense that every transaction is tracked on the open public ledger, blockchain. It is more likely that a criminal using bitcoin will be caught than a criminal using cash
Bitcoin is not really all that anonymous
Bitcoin transactions are conducted anonymously, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be tracked. The Block Chain logs and displays every Bitcoin transaction in real time, and makes that data available to anyone
Bitcoin: a complete overview – a world monetary revolution or a speculative bubble about to burst? | May 2016
Bitcoin is a pseudo-anonymous currency, meaning your real name is not being used, but instead is an address. Though people will not see your name, they can identify every transaction made through that address since the Blockchain is public.
Although Bitcoin addresses are made of random letters and numbers, each address is unique. Once ownership of the address is revealed, everyone can see all the transactions it performed.
If all exchanges or service providers share their data with a central entity, then it may be possible to track most transactions with reasonable confidence as the centralized points (exchanges or service providers) shed light on what likely occurred when the transaction is onchain.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is anything but anonymous, as all of the transactions are publicly recorded on the blockchain.
Anyone in the world can see every transaction on the blockchain in real-time, and see where funds are going to at any given time. Even though this does not include personal information either, there is an origin and destination for all funds that anyone can trace, rendering Bitcoin not anonymous.
Bitcoin is never anonymous. [luke-jr]
Dash, the anonymous evolution of Bitcoin | Apr 2016
a weakness in its [Bitcoin’s] design: a lack of true anonymity
Bitcoin does not supply true anonymity; each transaction is broadcast on a public blockchain for anyone to study. While those transactions are not publicly linked to specific individuals, connections between transactions and individuals can be made, with enough forensic research.
Top 5 Bitcoin Myths | Apr 2016
[Myth 5] Bitcoin is anonymous
What you need to know about Bitcoin | Apr 2016
Bitcoin is not anonymous and cannot offer the same level of privacy as cash
When it comes to Bitcoin anonymity, there are far more limitations than most people take into account.
Generating a Bitcoin address will not require personal information, unlike opening a bank account. But that is only as far as the anonymity goes, as every transaction on the network is publicly available for everyone to see.
the promise of anonymity is a lie
This means that it is not anonymous. In fact, it is rather pseudonymous. This means that the bitcoin address of a user is similar to that of an account number. Therefore, it is possible to connect the user to an address and trace all the transactions.
Moreover, advanced and improved techniques to connect bitcoin addresses and users, analyze transaction patterns, mine data from the social media as well as other public sources and analyze IP addresses are already available.
Therefore, the attribution advantage offered by bitcoin is searchability, traceability and the blockchain’s permanence.
people who learn more about bitcoin would realize that the cryptocurrency bitcoin is more “cops” friendly than “criminals” friendly.
there is no such thing as anonymity in the Bitcoin world to begin with
No matter how you want to spin it, cash in still the most anonymous payment solution there is.
For all of its protection and privacy, there are still ways to track Bitcoin
I think [Bitcoin] is a haven for really stupid criminals because the blockchain is an immutable record for the rest of time
Cash is truly anonymous. If I give you cash, no one sees that happen unless there’s a video camera or something . . . It’s untraceable. There is no ledger record.
Bitcoin seems to offer a valuable alternative, to a cashless society, but it lacks privacy and anonymity traits.
If we are to evolve into a cashless society, privacy-centric features in Bitcoin are a necessity.
Bitcoin and the Rise of the Cypherpunks | Apr 2016
Many early bitcoin users assumed that the system would give them complete anonymity, but we have learned otherwise as various law enforcement agencies have revealed that they are able to deanonymize bitcoin users during investigations.
One of the greatest privacy issues in bitcoin is from blockchain observers – because every transaction on the network is indefinitely public, anyone in the present and future can be a potential adversary.
the popular digital currency [Bitcoin] is far too transparent to move funds around anonymously, as there several initiatives focusing on blockchain analysis to prevent suspicious Bitcoin activities.
Fungibility on the blockchain | Apr 2016
Privacy/unlinkability features [of Bitcoin] are week
the misconception that bitcoin is “anonymous” has hidden the fact that the technology actually better meets the needs of law enforcement
If you ask the average person what words come to mind when they think of bitcoin, three of the most common responses will likely be “anonymous”, “untraceable” and “a currency for criminals.” But all of these common ideas about bitcoin are actually misconceptions. In fact, every single one of them is wrong.
because the ledger is publicly accessible, law enforcement does not have to worry about what type of legal process is required to access the data.
Blockchain transactions are actually only pseudo-anonymous
Real anonymity on BTC is very hard if not impossible.
The fact that the blockchain ledger is public provides great transparency against money launderers.
Most people think bitcoin is anonymous. In fact, new technologies trace BTC transactions, attempting to identify bitcoin users.
Bitcoin is not anonymous
Customers need to be aware of what privacy bitcoin affords, and what it does not
However, bitcoin by nature is definitely not anonymous. In fact, with intelligent blockchain analysis and transaction verification tools, anyone can easily track down bitcoin transactions to its origin, using methods such as clusterization.
Using bitcoin to launder money isn’t the smartest thing to do, as bitcoin isn’t 100% anonymous, however there are certain levels of psuedo-anonymity involved in bitcoin as there is no identity tied to bitcoin addresses.
In a report published in January, it was somewhat trivial for bitcoin intelligence companies to track and plot bitcoin transactions coming from different bitcoin exchanges and markets.
Finding A Bank Partner As a Bitcoin Startup | Apr 2016
Bitcoin in itself is not as transparent as banks would like, although the protocol is far from anonymous at the same time.
it is not difficult to track the origin and destination of just about any bitcoin transaction on the blockchain, law enforcement agencies are stepping up their game by the look of things
Law enforcement agencies – especially Homeland Security – on the other hand, seem to have access to specific tools that will let them monitor Bitcoin transactions and link it to personal behavior.
Now that dedicated Bitcoin task forces are a real thing, any shred of anonymity associated with digital currency has just evaporated.
the argument that Bitcoin is anonymous and thus attractive to criminal elements is being put to rest
Elliptic is letting everyone know that it is possible for fraudulent and illegal activities to be unmasked.
Even more importantly, though, is for Bitcoin enthusiasts to realize that if there is a way to mount surveillance on Bitcoin users, someone is bound to take advantage of it anyway. That means, if it is not Elliptic, it will be some other startup or even a law enforcement agency.
Bitcoin was never designed to be anonymous.
“Bitcoin is probably the most transparent payment network in the world,” explains Bitcoin.org.
Bitcoin been called a haven for criminals by many misinformed individuals, the reality is Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation is a mostly-transparent ledger.
Are Bitcoin Transactions Traceable? | Mar 2016
They are traceable unless they are expressly designed not to be so.
the paradox of Bitcoin is that actually through Blockchain you make public information of your financial history
Bitcoin transactions are fully traceable, it means that we can track any Bitcoin activities
The Bitcoin busts | Mar 2016
A string of recent arrests has shown that even with Bitcoin, the Internet currency beloved by computer scientists, libertarians, and criminals, privacy is not guaranteed.
Although Bitcoin is designed to protect privacy, it nonetheless generates abundant public data. Investigators try to connect the transactions publicly recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain to sales on online drug markets and, ultimately, to sellers.
It’s difcult to push large amounts of Bitcoin through mixing services secretly. It’s extremely noticeableno matter how you do it
The biggest risk to bitcoin in my mind is fungibility and anonymity.
If you run a business you might not want your competition to find out who your supplier is or you might not want a client seeing what your markup is, the list of reasons for anonymity are endless.
Many businesses I have talked to find the current lack of privacy scary and have told me that’s why they are not accepting bitcoin.
Anonymity needs to be more cooked into the normality of bitcoin before we see mass mainstream adoption.
Because every Bitcoin transfer is recorded on perfectly public blockchain, or ledger, it’s only a metter of time, tools and dedication to eventually de-anonymize all, or most, of Bitcoin transactions. [0:28]
In fact there are well funded companies cropping out right now that intend to do this very thing. [0:45]
Internet criminals [who] accept [this] form of payment think [it] offers anonymity, which Bitcoin does not.
Bitcoin simply does not allow people to move funds around anonymously over the Internet, although it does provide some privacy protection.
Their [Elliptic] brand butter is identifying Bitcoin transactions on the network which could be suspicious, and further strip away the last remaining shreds of the illusionary anonymity associated with Bitcoin itself.
Government officials and executive financial players have always been wary of Bitcoin and its alleged anonymity even though the perceived anonymity is not present in the digital currency’s ecosystem at all.
Bitcoin is usually not very anonymous [2:42] … Bitcoin is pseudoanonymous
So why we want anonymity? Well, its very important for a currency to be private and also fungible. [2:48]
Bitcoin, its default state, should never be considered an anonymous (or even reasonably private) monetary system.
Bitcoin’s pseudonymity is tenuous at best; easily compromised by basic net surveillance.
Default Bitcoin is still far more private than credit cards but certainly less so than cash.
As all Bitcoin transactions are a matter of public record, any address which becomes associated with your identity and / or enterprise reveals 4 important pieces of information: 1) How many bitcoins you held or hold within that address, 2) Exactly when you received those bitcoins, 3) Who you received those bitcoins from (unless they employ effective privacy methods) 4) The next address to which you send those bitcoins (which, as with 3, may identify its owner).
This one [problem with Bitcoin] may be a bit attractable, which is that all transactions are public and all of the information in all the transactions are public.
Indeed, there are a number of different startups working to deanonymize the Bitcoin blockchain every day.
Bitcoin is not as anonymous as it was earlier thought.
The digital currency is pseudonymous at best and bitcoin transactions, with enough effort, can very well be tracked and sometimes even the identity of parties to the transactions can be traced.
How to stay anonymous when using Bitcoin | Mar 2016
Bitcoin is neither transparent nor perfectly anonymous.
Creating pseudonyms is easy in Bitcoin, but making and accepting payments or donations can be very difficult if we want to prevent others from knowing too much about the pseudonyms we use.
here are many ways which our pseudonyms could be compromised.
Bitcoin is Invulnerable, Invincible and Psuedo-Anonymous while Bitcoin Group gives back $5.9M | Mar 2016
From the beginning, despite the claims made by by science magazine, Bitcoin has been pseudo anonymous. That’s right, pseudo, which means not genuine. So Bitcoin has not been genuinely anonymous since the beginning. [0:21]
Anonymity Does Not Exist In Bitcoin
Why criminals can’t hide behind Bitcoin | Mar 2016
The paradox of cryptocurrency is that its associated data create a forensic trail that can suddenly make your entire financial history public information.
Bitcoin transactions, however, leave a trail of pseudonymous breadcrumbs on the blockchain, and if the hacker tries to cash out into local currency, she might accidentally put a name or an IP address to those pseudonyms and give herself away.
Blockchain transactions can reveal the structure of organized ransomware crime rings, and individual hackers can be and have been caught and prosecuted.
anonymity is not natural to the Bitcoin ecosystem
Since then [its initial days] it has been found out that the bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous at best. Meaning, bitcoin transactions can be tracked, with some extra resources and effort, the identity of the parties involved can be uncovered.
It [Bitcoin] has zero privacy functions at the protocol level [1:59]
Take Back Your Privacy: The Barefoot Anarchist’s Guide to Navigating Today’s Digital Landscape | Feb 2016
Some people will tell you Bitcoin is good for anonymous payments. Well, sometimes it can be. Depending on how much trouble you want to go to, and whom you trust, and how you’re defining “anonymous” at the moment. And how often you plan to use Bitcoin. I’m not going to argue against the possibility, though I do think it’s a hell of a lot of work to achieve anonymity this way.
I’d really prefer to use a currency with more built-in support for anonymity.
For most readers, for today, I just want to say: do not assume your Bitcoin transactions are in any sense anonymous, unless you’re willing to dive into the technologies involved and become an expert on the topic, including digital-security issues not directly related to Bitcoin itself (bright side: this book ought to help quite a bit).
How to be Anonymous Online (February 2016) | Mar 2016
Bitcoin is NOT Anonymous
Sadly, there are hundreds of ways a Bitcoin transaction can be linked to someone’s real identity. True pseudonymity against a resourceful adversary is very difficult to achieve.
Over the course of just a few months, you could come into contact with hundreds of Bitcoin addresses. It is often only necessary to associate just one of these addresses with your real identity to work out your real identity.
Each Bitcoin transaction contains at least one input (where the Bitcoins are from) and at least one output (where the Bitcoins are being sent). This means that once a single address is known, there is a trail to follow the Bitcoins.
Your real name might be connected to a Bitcoin transaction when you make transactions with Bitcoin, for example, if you buy goods online and have them shipped to your real address.
Bitcoin exchanges and even some ATMs often require you to show identification before making a purchase.
When you buy bitcoins from someone in person, they might know who you are and keep a record of the transaction. This record could fall into the hands of your adversary, or maybe even be made public.
Your country’s anti-money laundering laws might require you to reveal your identity when buying or selling Bitcoin, making it necessary to obfuscate their trail on the blockchain.
Bitcoins Are Not Anonymous
A popular misconception is that Bitcoin is an anonymous currency, not leaving behind any traces of transactions. However, that is inaccurate. All transactions are stored permanently and publicly, which means all transactions and balances of any Bitcoin address can be seen by anyone. While the identity of a user may remain unknown, eventually even this information may be revealed doing a purchase.
Bitcoin is pseudo-anonymous and most coin shufflers require a third party, other altcoins are trying to fill the role of private zero-knowledge transactions.
Making People Warm For Digital Currency | Feb 2016
Unlike what most people assume to this very day, Bitcoin is a far cry from an anonymous form of payment.
Granted, users are identified by wallet addresses, which offer pseudonymity.
all of the Bitcoin transactions in the past, present, and future can be publicly trace don the blockchain in real-time. This removes any shred of full anonymity in the Bitcoin world.
While digital currencies such as Bitcoin are known for their pseudonymity, it is often possible to trace transactions across the shared Bitcoin ledger blockchain. This allows individuals to determine exactly who is sending bitcoins and where they are sending them.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies | Feb 2016
Bitcoin is pseudonymous, but pseudonymity is not enough if your goal is to achieve privacy.
If anyone is ever able to link your Bitcoin address to your real world identity, then all of your transactions — past, present, and future — will have been linked back to your identity.
To make things worse, linking a Bitcoin address to a real-world identity is often easy.
it [non‐fungibility of Bitcoin] can be bad for privacy because of the potential for deanonymizing users.
Digital currencies like bitcoin are touted for their anonymity. But in practice, it can be possible to trace transactions across the shared bitcoin ledger known as the blockchain and figure out who’s sending bitcoin to whom.
Confidential Transactions | Feb 2016
An unfortunate side effect [of the Bitcoin ledger] is that all the transaction data must be conspicuously public so it can be verified, which is at odds with the normal expectation of privacy for traditional monetary instruments.
Insufficient financial privacy can have serious security and privacy implications for both commercial and personal transactions.
Insufficient privacy can also result in a loss of fungibility–where some coins are treated as more acceptable than others–which would further undermine Bitcoin’s utility as money.
Bitcoin partially addresses the privacy problem by using pseudonymous addresses. If someone does not know which users own which addresses, the privacy impact is reduced. But any time you transact with someone you learn at least one of their addresses. From there, you can trace out other connected addresses and estimate the values of their transactions and holdings.
Bitcoin Anonymity | Feb 2016
bitcoin by itself is in most cases not 100% anonymous
bitcoin is pseudonymous: sending and receiving bitcoins is like writing under a pseudonym. If an author’s pseudonym is ever linked to their identity, everything they ever wrote under that pseudonym will now be linked to them.
If your address is ever linked to your identity, every transaction will be linked to you.
Although the Bitcoin blockchain protocol is designed to promote pseudo-anonymity, the process leaves traces for digital forensic investigators to examine. These traces can be found in the P2P network itself or among the millions of transactions confirmed and added to the block chain.
Bitcoin users also had misconceptions about Bitcoin’s ability to protect their anonymity because transactions are recorded in a public ledger and are traceable with some effort, Lindqvist said.
the popular digital currency does not provide privacy or anonymity, and tracking down individuals using Bitcoin for money laundering purposes is a lot easier compared to when cash is involved
Far too many people still believe Bitcoin offers anonymity and privacy, even though nothing could be further from the truth.
Bitcoin is a far cry from anonymous, as every transaction can be tracked on a public ledger in real time.
Identifying people by their wallet address is quite a challenge, but sooner or later, the funds will end up at a Bitcoin exchange. This is where the illusion of anonymity or privacy ends completely.
For people looking to gain more financial privacy or anonymity, Bitcoin has very little to offer them.
the recent Rutgers study indicates Bitcoin is neither privacy-centric nor anonymous by any means.
Anyone in the world can track Bitcoin payments from its source to destination in real-time, without having to register for access to the system. This effectively removes any illusion of privacy or anonymity when using digital currency.
There are many people who believe that any transaction conducted using Bitcoins can be completely 100% anonymous, but the truth is that this is just a myth from people who do not understand how Bitcoin works.
Bitcoin is not actually anonymous but is in fact semi-anonymous, and if any transactions have ever been flagged as potential illegal behavior such as money laundering then it can be possible to tie that activity to a specific individual.
There has always been a misconception amongst cyber criminals and cryptocurrency enthusiasts that Bitcoin is anonymous and cannot be tracked. However, Bitcoin by nature is transparent and its transactions can be tracked using analytics tools or blockchain explorers.
Bitcoin transactions can be easily traced with recently developed innovative blockchain tools and technologies.
Bitcoin Is No Paradise for Criminals | Jan 2016
The history of every Bitcoin transaction is publicly accessible.
Every Bitcoin transaction is cemented in the blockchain, which can be examined and analyzed at will by anyone with minimal technical know-how.
transaction analysis is a powerful technique that can be used to link real world identities with Bitcoin addresses
3 Things People Get Wrong About Bitcoin | Jan 2016
1: Bitcoin Is Completely Untraceable
Bitcoin provides no anonymity protections at all. Blockchain is provides extremely limited anonymity protections.
If you are doing something that you don’t want people to know about, bitcoin is one of the absolute worst ways of doing it.
Bitcoin is the worst anonymity weapon you could use, the last option of all options. The blockchain is an open public account where you can see all the transactions made since the first block resolved.
To use better languages Bitcoin is not anonymous, is pseudonymous; meaning instalty I don’t know who you are or what are you doing but doing some research I can find more info thanks to blockchain.
Top 10 Most Important Ideas About Bitcoin | Jan 2016
5) Anonymity. This can be completely false. Bitcoin may be anonymous should you take steps to ensure it stays anonymous, but isn’t anonymous by default. Actually, the Bitcoin network is publically accessible and very transparent.
Bitcoin isn’t anonymous at all, users must use additional services to ensure anonymity.
Bitcoin was never intended to be used for anonymous purposes
people fail to understand Bitcoin is anything but anonymous
the transparency associated with Bitcoin is something that scares away both consumers and business
People who are using Bitcoin because they want to remain anonymous might want to reconsider that stance once they try to cash out a Bitcoin balance through either an exchange or Bitcoin ATM.
As of today, the anonymity feature applies mostly to advanced users who acquire their first bitcoins by mining or via private transactions. Those whose entry-point is an online wallet or exchange service link their personal identities to their bitcoins, which means that their transactions are even more vulnerable in terms of privacy (or, to put it in other words, they are much more “transparent”) than those made via traditional bank accounts.
Its bizare in a way, that we acctually have more financial privacy from unknown non-governmental agencies like just random Joes […] with the current finanical system than we do with Bitcoin. [22:54]
With Bitcoin anyone can find out how much money you have in your Bitcoin account, depending how private and active you are. [23:19]
This is the place that Bitcoin is lacking. [23:44]
4. Bitcoin is not absolutely all that anonymous.
Bitcoin Anonymity | Dec 2015
bitcoin is pseudonymous: sending and receiving bitcoins is like writing under a pseudonym. If an author’s pseudonym is ever linked to their identity, everything they ever wrote under that pseudonym will now be linked to them.
Every transaction involving that address is stored forever in the blockchain. If your address is ever linked to your identity, every transaction will be linked to you.
Dark Markets: Anonymity in Bitcoin | Dec 2015
True financial privacy doesn’t exist on the Bitcoin blockchain. Without a redesign, this should be a serious concern.
Bitcoin anonymity is more fragile than many believe
But the evolution of blockchain analysis – the piecing together of transaction details to reveal details of otherwise obscured transactions – and regulatory changes sought by numerous governments could expose the identity of users of the peer-to-peer digital currency
Law enforcement can deploy blockchain analysis, which collects metadata, incidental information linked to transactions and IP addresses and establishes common connections, to identify and blacklist criminals.
“True anonymity in Bitcoin is only a myth, currently,” says Michalik.
As Blockchain analysis techniques improve, Michalik believes, swathes of addresses could be de-anonymised over time, exposing hitherto hidden financial information to the public – and government – gaze.
Bitcoin is anonymous for miners, even if it is not for buyers and sellers
Is Bitcoin used for illegal activities? | Dec 2015
Bitcoin isn’t really anonymous, quite the opposite in fact.
Bitcoin by Default is not Anonymous | Dec 2015
the fact is, bitcoin by default is not anonymous
bitcoin transactions are publicly traceable on the blockchain network
Bitcoin is not naturally anonymous, and each Bitcoin transaction is verified by multiple third parties and permanently recorded on a publicly readable ledger called the block chain.
Bitcoin is less anonymous than, say, cash
Anonymity, or more precisely pseudonymity, has always been a key feature of bitcoin.
But the digital currency is not anonymous by default. Its public ledger, known as the blockchain, provides a trail of transactions that could be analyzed to find bad actors. It’s possible to connect a bitcoin address (which is just an alphanumeric string) to a person or entity through network analysis, surveillance, or just Googling the address.
The very existence of these startups [which analyze bitcoin transactions] raises questions about whether bitcoin users’ privacy can be protected as banks try to comply with regulations that require them to understand their customers.
REBLOG> 10 BITCOIN MYTHS | Dec 2015
5. “Bitcoin is anonymous.”
Conclusion: Bitcoin is not an electronic form of cash and does not protect privacy.
Dark Markets: Anonymity in Bitcoin | Nov 2015
True anonymity in Bitcoin is only a myth, currently
There is full visibility of all transactions.
Blockchain analysis, as a relatively new market sector within Bitcoin, demonstrates the weakness of pseudonymity.
True financial privacy doesn’t exist on the Bitcoin blockchain. Without a redesign, this should be a serious concern.
Blockchain analysis techniques can only improve. It’s believed that huge swathes of addresses could be de-anonymized over time. It doesn’t take much to put everything together once you have a few pieces of the puzzle. This would leave a complete history of your financial information publically available, forever.
Why Bitcoin’s anonymity promise is a myth | Nov 2015
Frost and Sullivan has now revealed the anonymity that Bitcoin promises may not be that anonymous after all.
True anonymity in Bitcoin is only a myth
For businesses operating in Bitcoin, cash flow, supply, demand and other competitive information would be exposed to their rivals. In this case, Bitcoin is a worse option than traditional finance channels.
Bitcoin is thus not anonymous, and creates a permanent record of transactions that occur. This ultimately makes bitcoin a terrible choice for illegal activity where the crime is serious enough to attract enough government effort to follow the money
What bitcoin does provide is pseudonymity
Many in the cryptocurrency community see this as a flaw in bitcoin’s design, and many alternatives that provide true anonymity have been proposed.
Bitcoin: The Anonymous Cryptocurrency | Nov 2015
attaining reasonable anonymity with this cryptocurrency can be a little complicated. This is because the bitcoin invention was meant to combat the challenge of censorship resistance in finance rather than anonymity.
Ideally, bitcoin is pseudonymous, which means that sending as well as receiving bitcoins can be likened to writing under a pseudonym.
In case your address is linked to your identity, each transaction you have ever made will automatically be linked to you.
Law Enforcement and Regulators Agree: Bitcoin Not Useful for Terrorists, Already Regulated Appropriately | 2015
Reports of bitcoin’s anonymity are greatly exaggerated. Criminals or terrorists who use bitcoin to facilitate their activities are foolish, because bitcoin is traceable in a way that other payment methods, including cash, are not.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous in that all that is shown is on the public ledger is a public address.
Cash, on the other hand, is completely anonymous.
Despite assertions by some bitcoin enthusiasts that the blockchain network is completely anonymous, I think this is a stretch. Rather, it is better characterized as being ‘pseudo-anonymous’ – completely transparent and trackable.
Bitcoin is considered to be completely anonymous. But in reality, it is pseudonymous, meaning it offers partial anonymity. with enough determination and resources, transactions on Bitcoin network can be tracked.
Bitcoin is not confidential, but, rather, pseudo-anonymous.
EU to Target Bitcoin for ‘National Security’ | Nov 2015
Bitcoin’s alleged anonymity is something experts have already denied.
One of the biggest myths that still gets thrown around when it comes to Bitcoin is that transactions are anonymous.
Although many people automatically assume that their use on darknet marketplaces must indicate that Bitcoin can easily be used for completely private transactions, it should be remembered that every transaction is publicly displayed on the blockchain.
For proof of the current issues with Bitcoin privacy, one must only look at the many blockchain analysis startups that have been created over the past few years. Some of these companies work with exchanges and other digital currency companies on regulatory compliance, and they’re able to figure out which Bitcoin addresses may be associated with some sort of criminal or other unwanted activity.
Bitcoin is not anonymous, but, rather, pseudo-anonymous.
all transactions over the Bitcoin network are completely transparent and traceable by anyone. It’s typically this complete transparency that allows multiple Bitcoin addresses to be clustered together, and be tied to the same user. Therefore, if just one of these clustered addresses is linked to a real-world identity through one or several of the other de-anonymizing methods, all clustered addresses can be.
the attack(s) asked for a Bitcoin payments, but this digital currency is anything but anonymous. In fact, sending a wire transfer of a Western Union payment is far more anonymous compared to Bitcoin.
cash is much more anonymous means of transferring value than virtual currencies
The ownership string for virtual currency is public, though not the actual owner name and address. If that name and address are at one point identified by law enforcers, law enforcers have a powerful mechanism to track entire chains of transfer of value
Bitcoin Risks and Skepticism | Nov 2015
5. Lack of Anonymity.
Did you think using bitcoin made you anonymous? Think again. EVERY transaction ever done with bitcoins is publicly recorded, forever, in the bitcoin blockchain. People just think they have privacy because they think no one will know they hold account “xyz234…”. But for a variety of reasons, the odds are high that over time your bitcoin keys are going to be linked with your real-world identity.
Q: Let’s say you can add any one feature [to Bitcoin] immediately […] which one would it be? turing-complete? privacy? else?
A: better transaction privacy would be the feature on the top of my list.
With limited technical know-how, one can open a computer and within minutes, download the entire transaction history of Bitcoin, see every single transaction at the exact time it took place and which accounts it took place between. From here, one can view a wallet and see the exact amount it holds and a complete transaction history for that wallet.
This does not meet the definition of anonymous.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous.
Bitcoin: The Ultimate Guerrilla Guide | Oct 2015
Bitcoin is NOT anonymous.
A Forensic Look at Bitcoin Cryptocurrency | Oct 2015
However, because Bitcoin is pseudonymous and not anonymous, Bitcoins do not just disappear. Rather, each transaction is public knowledge and is visible to anyone using the Bitcoin network
a successful Bitcoin investigation is possible by escalating through the phases of the Investigation Process for Digital Forensic Science
The bitcoin’s dirty little secret is that it is not a truly anonymous currency.
It is paramount that you understand that Bitcoin alone is absolutely not anonymous.
It is in fact the most transparent of all financial methods in the world, as what would be a private ledger within a bank becomes a public and absolutely transparent record of every transaction on Bitcoin with the blockchain.
Bitcoin is not an anonymous form of money, as every transaction can be publicly tracked through the blockchain.
Bitcoin is perfectly traceable and a far cry from anonymous.
That’s surprising is that Bitcoin isn’t exactly anonymous. Every transfer is recorded publicly.
What is Privacy and Why is It Important? | Oct 2015
Although Bitcoin has a bright future ahead, being on its way to mass adoption, its leaders never claimed that Bitcoin technology will protect privacy and provide anonymity to its users.
Oh sure, we all like to imagine that cryptocurrency [Bitcoin] guarantees real anonymity, but we also know that’s not the case.
Every time someone makes a transaction with Bitcoin, a record of that transaction immediately shows up in the Blockchain. As a result, it is always possible to see where digital currency came from and where it went.
According to the recent reports – two companies, Chainalysis and Elliptic, have started selling advanced blockchain network examination tools and services capable of tracing bitcoin transactions back to their participants, and de-anonymize users.
governments and financial institutions are slowly warming up to blockchain technology […] but consider privacy and anonymity as issues that need to be settled.
Bitcoin is not a company or company product, and contrary to many news reports, it is not anonymous and was not built for bad actors.
Although it has been often reported that Bitcoin is an anonymous payment system, the Blockchain is a transparent record of all transactions between users on the Bitcoin Network.
The identity of users on the Blockchain can often be determined through a combination of either voluntary identification of users with their digital addresses (e.g., through identity verification with Bitcoin exchanges or custodians), accidental identification by users or by statistical analysis.
Top Bitcoin Myths – #1: Bitcoin is a tool for criminals to purchase drugs, launder money, and finance terrorism | Oct 2015
Bitcoin is more susceptible to tracing than paper money.
While the ownership of the wallets is anonymous, the ledger is public.
This ledger has a full and easily viewable history of all transactions that have ever occurred and will ever occur on the Bitcoin network. Consequently, unlike paper currency, which can disappear and reappear with no record of transfer or trace of exchange, every single Bitcoin transaction is available for all the world to see and cannot be hidden, or obscured or changed.
While Bitcoin does not instantly reveal who owns the accounts on either end (the wallets), the transactions are recorded, and recorded on a very public ledger.
Consequently, contrary to what many people believe law enforcement is in a better position when criminals use Bitcoin than they are when criminals use paper currency.
Is Bitcoin is anonymous? | Oct 2015
Bitcoin is pseudo-anonymous.
Having said that, the reality of things is that there are many ways this pseudo-anonymity can be breached. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain it as the cryptocurrency is integrated into commerce and financial systems.
It is unethical for a bank to publish individual account holder activity to the public. But that is exactly what the blockchain does.
Anonymity was a low priority in the Bitcoin implementation.
We all know that bitcoin transactions are not anonymous.
Each transaction and the full transaction history of any bitcoin address are permanently recorded in the well designed public blockchain and open to examination at any time.
How Bitcoin Can Help Fight Financial Crime | Sep 2015
Bitcoin is the most transparent payment method ever invented and has the potential to become a powerful tool in the fight against money laundering.
So bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous, recording your bitcoin address (or pseudonym) but not your identity. However, in many cases identities can be linked to bitcoin addresses.
there are potentially a whole new market with lots of other actors who don’t fill worm and fuzzy when they make bitcoin transactions [due to blockchain being in plain text] [11:16]
So, now the Bitcoin blockchain is very public and more public even than most online electronic transactions today. So you can think of the Bitcoin blockchain as something like as if your credit card statement and bank statement were published online in a big global shared ledger with your name and address blanked off and as you can imagine that’s a kind of concerting
So that kind of information [from Bitcoin blockchain] generally should be kept confidential because it’s, you know, exposing people to risks. It’s violating privacy norms and it’s acting as a barriers for adoption in existing financial situations.
pseudonymity is a kind of linkable anonymity
If you start with a pseudonymous system then it is difficult to create anonymity on top of that because it’s all linked together by your pseudonym.
Transaction Remote Release, a Tor-Inspired Proposed Change to Bitcoin Protocol for Anonymous Transactions | Sep 2015
It’s well known that bitcoin transactions are not anonymous. /p>
A bitcoin addresses isn’t explicitly associated to its owner, but blockchain network analysis can often de-anonymize bitcoin users.
two companies, Chainalysis and Elliptic , sell sophisticated blockchain network analysis tools and services to trace bitcoin transactions back to their participants, and de-anonymize users.
Bitcoin is the worst privacy system ever.
The people most excited by confidential transactions were banks. They found that non-privacy of bitcoin transactions was bad for them. These were US banks.
And, despite its mathematical complexity, experts find lingering privacy concerns with Bitcoin.
It’s important to bear in mind that Bitcoin isn’t anonymous. On the contrary, all transactions between Bitcoin addresses are permanently stored in the blockchain and open to analysis. Therefore, even though Bitcoin addresses aren’t explicitly associated to personal identities, sophisticated network analysis can permit de-anonymizing users and reporting them to the authorities if they violate applicable regulations.
Bitcoin that anonymous after all? | Aug 2015
one of the biggest eyebrow raisers of sceptics was the misconception that Bitcoin is an anonymous cryptocurrency and that it will serve best those individuals who wish to hide their transactions, licit or otherwise.
Bitcoin in itself is anything but anonymous. Each and every transaction conducted has to be verified by the network of miners, and for the sake of transparency, each and every transaction can be tracked on Bitcoin’s public ledger.
Improve transaction privacy / fungibility in Bitcoin Core and the Bitcoin system [Gregory Maxwell] | Aug 2015
Financial privacy is an essential property of every monetary and payment system. Without it the user’s security is reduced due to targeted attacks, the freedom to associate and transact is limited, and their commercial interests may be compromised when competition can monitor their activity.
The importance of privacy was recognized in the original Bitcoin whitepaper, but the only approach available at the time (pseudonymous addresses) provides only limited privacy and what it does provide is highly brittle.
Many people are drawn to Bitcoin and virtual currencies for the illusion of being able to move funds around in an anonymous way. However, with the blockchain acting as a transparent ledger, there is no such thing as anonymity in the Bitcoin space.
most people see the virtual currency as a safe haven for money laundering, fraud, and illegal trading. Such a train of thought is quite odd, as Bitcoin is not anonymous and is one of the worst possible options to launder money.
Bitcoin transactions are not truly anonymous.
A full transaction record of every Bitcoin and every Bitcoin user’s encrypted identity is maintained on the public ledger.
Because of the public ledger, researchers have found that, using sophisticated computer analysis, transactions involving large quantities of Bitcoin can be tracked and claim that if paired with current law enforcement tools it would be possible to gain a lot of information on the persons moving the Bitcoins.
Bitcoin exchanges will be required to collect personal data on their customers, limiting further the system’s ability to maintain the user’s pseudonymity.
Bitcoin transactions do not have the anonymity afforded by cash transactions, as there is a permanent and complete historical record of Bitcoin amounts and encrypted identities for all transactions on the Bitcoin system that are potentially traceable.
Unmasking Bitcoin transactions could throw a monkey wrench into the plans of that second category of users [those who want to use anonymizing services to cover their tracks], and Sabr.io aims to do exactly that.
Bitcoin was never intended to be used anonymously, even though a lot of people would love to see such a feature enabled in the future.
spending habits being publicized online could open up the floodgates for more marketing campaigns aimed towards Bitcoin users.
In particular, drones that can install spyware through wifi networks are seen to be a potential threat to bitcoin network anonymity.
On the one hand, this could have advantages since it could allow governments and authorities to track down criminal activity that involves bitcoin.
On the other hand, it could lead to a massive loss of privacy and weaker appeal for the cryptocurrency.
The module is able to collect various information: list of contacts and local accounts, wallet (i.e., the money) and the history of transactions.
A new law introduced in the Netherlands could allow surveillance to tap in the bitcoin network if investigations require it.
By allowing authorities to decrypt data involved in transactions that are allegedly involved in illegal dealings, the bitcoin industry could gain public trust.
Assuming the government would get unrestricted access to any and all hardware and software in the country, the entire pseudo-anonymity factor of Bitcoin goes up in smoke.
But one thing is clear, Bitcoin industry experts can provide the US government with the tools they need to prevent the “going dark” issue. After all, the blockchain is as transparent as it gets, so why not embrace the technology in a time when innovation is desperately needed?
Mastering bitcoin privacy | Jul 2015
The general public assumes that bitcoin is private, but in some ways, it’s more public than many financial transactions.
Bitcoin privacy is not automatic.
Anytime that your personal information is associated with a bitcoin transaction, your privacy is in jeopardy for every transactions you make with that bitcoin.
Remember, all transaction are on a public ledger.
Examining anonymity in bitcoin brings awareness to other aspects of life where we may be exposing our personal information needlessly.
Hacking Team found a way to track and trace Bitcoin transactions, and the software is now in the wild | Jul 2015
We’ve known for some time that Bitcoin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in terms of being anonymous, and tracking Bitcoin transactions isn’t just not impossible, it’s dead easy. But tying that back to individual users, by name, has been another matter, until now.
The reality is that in 2015, as much as we’d like to think it’s not, Bitcoin is about as secret as a traditional fiat money transfer; if your particular government wants to spy on what you’re spending your Bitcoins on, the probability is that they can and will.
New Financial-Privacy Service Lets You Buy Bitcoin Directly From Mines, Challenges Concept Of Money Laundering | Jul 2015
bitcoin is extremely traceable in that it’s only anonymous until your first transaction is identified
it’s far more traceable than any currency before it
This means that you’re exchanging your money that has a history – a public, well-known, traceable history.
Elliptic is a program that is able to track a bitcoin’s movement using blockchain, allowing banks to get a better picture of the source of a particular coin.
The software uses machine-learning in order to skim every corner of the web to track the movements of bitcoins.
Critics say programs like Elliptic take away from the original purpose for creating bitcoin — making transactions without the oversight of a third party. Many believe that taking away the anonymity drastically reduces the appeal of using bitcoin.
Bitcoin uses pseudonymity. [It is] fragile at best. Paying someone usually leaks your identity and finiancial information [37:20]
This lack of privacy is often cited as a concern by many parties [38:05]
So I think to myself, if Bitcoin were to displace other systems of money, would I want to live in that world? And without improvements to privacy, my answer is NO [40:27]
Confidential Transactions | Jun 2015
An unfortunate side effect [of the Bitcoin ledger] is that all the transaction data must be conspicuously public so it can be verified, which is at odds with the normal expectation of privacy for traditional monetary instruments.
Insufficient financial privacy can have serious security and privacy implications for both commercial and personal transactions. Without adequate protection, thieves and scammers can focus their efforts on known high-value targets, competitors can learn business details, and negotiating positions can be undermined. Since publishing often requires spending money, lack of privacy can chill free speech. Insufficient privacy can also result in a loss of fungibility–where some coins are treated as more acceptable than others–which would further undermine Bitcoin’s utility as money.
Bitcoin partially addresses the privacy problem by using pseudonymous addresses. If someone does not know which users own which addresses, the privacy impact is reduced. But any time you transact with someone you learn at least one of their addresses. From there, you can trace out other connected addresses and estimate the values of their transactions and holdings.
For example, suppose your employer pays you with Bitcoin and you later spend those coins on your rent and groceries. Your landlord and the supermarket will both learn your income, and could charge you higher prices as your income changes or target you for theft.
There are existing deployed techniques that further improve privacy in Bitcoin (such as CoinJoin, which merges the transaction history of users by making joint payments), but the utility of these techniques is reduced by the fact that it’s possible to track amounts.
By studying Bitcoin’s public ledger cybercrime specialists can track the history of every fraction of bitcoin, like a marked bill that leaves a unique trail, its fingerprint, as it passes from one Bitcoin address to another. Even the most clever hackers eventually make mistakes.
Compared to traditional illegal drug and weapons sales, the use of Bitcoin is complex and potentially riskier because of this permanent, public trail.
Once an investigator links a user’s identity to his Bitcoin address, he can look up the current balance of that address and track both the source as well as the eventual destination address of all bitcoins that have ever passed through that one user’s account.
The world is slowly catching on to the fact that the digital currency revolution may not be about anonymity as much as transparency, a feature that can be used to improve social justice or to combat fraud.
The company has built a new type of software that can identify the source of most every bitcoin transaction.
Elliptic says its tool can make a hugely accurate guess as to who each wallet belongs to, and it can do so in real-time.
Anonymous Payment Methods | Jun 2015
Are Bitcoins Anonymous? Well, the answer is yes and no. Strictly speaking, Bitcoin payments can be traced through the chain of transactions that remain stamped on the currency. Each Bitcoin keeps a record of the transactions it was used in, called a “block chain”, which includes IP address information from these transactions.
While there are methods for “cleaning” Bitcoins to make them nearly anonymous, these methods are complicated.
Although it is possible to acquire Bitcoins without a bank account, the steps involved add further hassle and relying on (yet more) third parties.
UK-BASED BITCOIN STARTUP Elliptic is looking to fuel enterprise uptake of the digital currency by proving that its ‘anonymous’ status is a myth.
It shows the flow of bitcoins between entities over a six-year history and, more importantly, proves that this information isn’t anonymous.
Bitcoin has this myth of anonymity, but we want to make it clear that it isn’t anonymous and that with the right intelligence you can detect criminal activity.
Bitcoin is Not Anonymous and Lacks Privacy | Jun 2015
Bitcoin’s pseudonymity is fragile in daily life. Linking transactions reduces the level of privacy, and general usage leaves traces all across the internet.
The level of privacy in Bitcoin will only decrease as blockchain records become more exploitable over time.
New bitcoin technology can tell banks where coins come from with incredible accuracy
Elliptic says its tool, built by 4 PhD holders, can make a hugely accurate guess as to who each wallet belongs to — and it can do so in real-time.
the tool could be a “game changer for the institutionalisation of bitcoin.”
The ability to do mass monitoring of Bitcoin transactions — and automatically alert companies, regulators and law enforcement as to which coins are associated with illegal goods — is basically the definition of surveillance.
Somehow maintaining my privacy marks me as a criminal and makes my bitcoins lose their fungibility?
Information regarding ownership of a wallet can sometimes be as easy to find as scraping an exchange’s website, or engaging in a bitcoin transaction with an individual.
We are not using this data to invade users’ privacy, and we have removed identifying information from many of the entities in the visualisation.
This technology enables mass monitoring of blockchain based digital currencies, which could end up automatically alerting financial institutions and authorities of coins being associated with illegal activity.
Blockstream Wants to Make Bitcoin More Private with Confidential Transactions [Greg Maxwell] | Jun 2015
Blockstream Co-Founder and Bitcoin Core Developer Greg Maxwell mentioned how he wouldn’t want to live in a bitcoin world if privacy were not improved.
Once you pay someone, they know who you are because you transacted with them. They can look at your transaction history to make a good guess at what your financial history is. You can leak this information to everyone, and they just have to attach your name to one address [to] get all of the other details.
When we ask institutions about using bitcoin, even the most boring institutions look at this and say, “We don’t want to use all of our transactions in public.”
In many instances, the financial privacy of the legacy banking system is preferred over bitcoin.
When dealing with a centralized financial institution, one’s transaction history is at least kept private (in theory) from everyone other than the bank and the customer.
And a loss of privacy loses fungibility, and that’s an inherent property of money. If each bitcoin has a history and people know how it’s used, then maybe some people won’t want some bitcoin
Bitcoin is not anonymous | Jun 2015
Bitcoin transactions are anything but anonymous.
Bitcoin therefore provides the ultimate paper trail for law enforcement agencies, tax authorities and compliance professionals.
This also has serious implications for user privacy – we are on the whole comfortable with entrusting our financial information with banks, but opening up this transaction history for all to see on the block chain may be too much for many.
A lack of privacy in bitcoin transactions is a threat to fungibility because users could decide not to accept “tainted” coins that may have been stolen or come from some sort of criminal operation.
Once a wallet ID has been linked to an individual bitcoin, transactions become highly traceable, as all transactions involving that ID are viewable on the public ledger.
Bitcoin is not anonymous
Bitcoin’s transparency is one of it greatest features, but there are many reasons why in some occasions that transparency is not desirable.
Another great feature of Bitcoin, its permanence, is also a privacy problem.
Monero Presentation @ Bitcoin Meetup Geneva | May 2015
Bitcoin is not anonymous, it is pseudonymous.
Pseudonymity is very fragile in daily life.
Linking of transactions reduces privacy
Usage leaves traces everywhere on the Internet
As a result, the analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain can reveal identities
Bitcoin blockchain analysis: a booming ﬁeld Network-focused blockchain analysis is a thriving research ﬁeld since a few years already.
Permanent nature of blockchain ensures that privacy only ever decreases!
The lack of privacy in Bitcoin threatens its fungibility.
People becoming more aware of the fungibility issue in Bitcoin.
I don’t know where [bitcoin privacy] will end up. My best guess is that, eventually, small, ordinary, everyday bitcoin transactions will be pretty darn private. Really big transactions will probably be not-so-private. I don’t know. We’ll have to see where all these ideas for improving bitcoin privacy end up versus all of the new, creative ways researchers have of figuring out what’s going on on the network.
Bitcoin users who use the wallet hosting service Coinbase may be getting tracked by government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security.
Coinbase customer posted a warning on Reddit, along with links to screen shots, that appear to show that Coinbase is actively monitoring the transactions of at least some of its customers.
The taint and the Bitcoin | May 2015
the anonymity is not as good as one would think.
Satoshi Nakamoto did not focus on anonymity, though, when the whitepaper was written. [..] Keeping transactions private was never the primary aim.
I for example do not feel comfortable when I look at services in the internet, which advertise absolute anonymity and brag with bitcoin from allegedly untraceable sources like onionland.
One should be careful, though, when using services in the internet, which claim to anonymize coins.
The blockchain does not forget. One of its shortcomings when it comes to privacy.
6 reasons Bitcoin is not anonymous | May 2015
All transactions are public
All transactions are stored forever
Exchanges and brokers can link a physical identity to specific Bitcoin accounts
Webshops can link the physical delivery address to a specific Bitcoin account
Physical stores can link faces with Bitcoin accounts
Full compliance with blockchain analysis tools
Results show an inherent lack of anonymity by exploiting patterns in long-term transactional behavior.
It may allow users to be tracked, despite measures taken to remain anonymous.
So You Think Bitcoin is Anonymous? | Apr 2015
First realize that all bitcoin transactions are recorded forever in the blockchain and can be traced quite easily. Most users buy bitcoin from a service or brokerage that has their name and address on record. When those bitcoin are used for a transaction, and then another all owners can be traced back to the first purchaser whose identity is linked. An analyst can even trace the history further, back to the origin of the coin when first mined and added to the blockchain.
I know how hard the problem it [Bitcoin’s privacy] is. [0:28]
It is a tricky problem, and […] in my head, the privacy is unsolved problem. [2:17]
Even using tor is not enough against the NSA, against an attacker who can insert their tentacles to data centres all over the World. [2:37]
Its not that we don’t care about privacy, it’s more that it is not necessarily at the top of our priority all the time [3:22]
So you know, we are very conservative […] and make sure that we are not advertising anonymity when we are not anonymous, or we are not advertising privacy when we are not actually private. [41:02]
While it is easy to transfer bitcoins anonymously, spending them anonymously on tangibles is as traceable as spending any other transaction.
Bitcoin transactions, while generally private, are pseudo-anonymous.
All transactions are publicly viewable on the blockchain and can be subjected to auditing. Only the natural person identity is private. However, even this can be traced, given time and effort.
Coinbase is required to monitor activity on its platform in accordance with the Bank Secrecy Act and other regulation governing all Money Service Businesses.
federal investigators have been able to use Bitcoin’s public ledger (the blockchain) to easily trace bitcoins from Silk Road straight to the charged agents.
every transaction performed with bitcoin is visible on the distributed electronic public ledger known as the blockchain.” Given this traceability, investigators can easily “follow the money.”
The work of researchers to link known transactions to individual identities reduces the attractiveness of Bitcoin for criminal activities.
every Bitcoin transaction can be traced through the public ledger known as the blockchain.
Online anonymity, in practice, is extremely difficult to achieve—you keep leaving data crumbs with each online interaction or communication
Tracing transactions made through BitPay, like a donation to Rand Paul’s campaign, is “not easy for anyone outside of law enforcement or court order,” according to Jeff Garzik, a long-time Bitcoin developer who works for BitPay.
Bitcoin privacy is really complicated. I think its a hard problem [33:05]
I don’t know where that will end up. My best guess is that eventually, kinda small ordinary everyday transactions will be pretty darn private, really big transactions will probably be not so private. I don’t know, we’ll see where all these ideas on improving bitcoin’s privacy end up, versus all the new creative ways, researchers have of figuring out what’s going on on the network [33:20]
Bitcoin is not anonymous | Mar 2015
Bitcoin is far more transparent than the cash and bank accounts we use today, says Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic
Bitcoin is in fact the most transparent payment method ever developed, and has the potential to become a powerful tool in the fight against financial crime.
bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous – your pseudonym (bitcoin address) is recorded, but your identity isn’t. However in many cases identities can be linked to bitcoin addresses, and it is usually much easier than seizing someone’s laptop.
‘Dark’ coins rising | Mar 2015
Every transaction [of Bitcoin] is recorded and can be tracked. All law enforcement has to do is find a loose end, tug on it, and the entire chain comes unraveled.
There’s a recognition that every transaction [of Bitcoin] that hits the blockchain could ultimately be traced.
Tracking Bitcoins in The Dark Web | Mar 2015
just 1 mistake and we have an IP addresses to track the wallet.
Lecture 6 — Bitcoin and Anonymity | Mar 2015
Why is mere psudoanonimity not sufficient if you want privacy? [5:30]
If you have this pseudonymous profile, its pretty fragile, its very easy for it to be linked back to your real identity at some point. If that happens at any point, than off course, all of your transactions, past, present and future have been linked to your identity. [5:48]
Block chain based currencies are totally, publicly, and permanently traceable [12:39]
Without anonimity, privacy is much worse than traditional banking! [12:39]
The peer-to-peer electronic payment system that bypasses banks, is not anonymous. In fact, despite numerous assertions to the contrary, it never was.
Some observers were surprised to learn just how traceable bitcoin is, but those familiar with the system were not.
The days of anonymous transactions in bitcoin and operating an exchange with no outside interference are over.
Bitcoin lacks the anonymity that many users have come to expect and desire, especially for a currency advertised as “cash for the Internet.”
because of Bitcoin’s transparency, it is relatively easy to track a user’s entire transaction history.
This perception of anonymity might be driving groups towards Bitcoin, but then the transparency is giving law enforcement or anyone interested in these illicit transactions this beautiful view of all of these types of illicit transactions
a new company called Chainanalysis is claiming to provide financial institutions access to blockchain information, which might have repercussions on the anonymity and security of bitcoin usage.
the company will provide customers with access to an API that will enable them to identify which entity the transaction came from.
Tax Authority Demands Customer Data From Bitcoin Exchange: Demands Trackability Of Everybody’s Past, Present, And Future | Mar 2015
this would enable trackability of everybody’s financial past, present, and future
the truth is that this dataset would give the Tax Authority a horrifying level of trackability over everybody’s everyday finances.
Due to the nature of bitcoin, if the Tax Authority wins in court and receives this data, they will have not just a snapshot of the present – they will also have full trackability into the past, and worse, full trackability of everybody’s financial data into the future – including all the things those people will do outside of that exchange in the future.
bitcoin may be pseudonymous – but it provides for financial tracking that can be used for a dystopic society where the government knows of not just every cent or satoshi spent, but has a very good idea of who transacted it.
this event should be viewed as a reminder that bitcoin transactions are not anonymous and far from private by default
few people realize how important privacy and fungibility is for bitcoin’s viability as a currency.
Bitcoin’s public ledger is a privacy issue
the public nature of the bitcoin blockchain should be a serious concern
It’s important to remember that there are plenty of situations where the true identity behind an address becomes known to at least one individual or company, and it doesn’t take much to put everything together once you have a few pieces of the puzzle.
The Swiss company […] created over 250 ‘false’ bitcoin nodes to harvest information on the whereabouts of transactions.
As long as Bitcoin continutes to provide relatively poor privacy, people will continue to try to create services that take advantage of this.
Bitcoin: the Stupid Way to Fund Terrorism | Feb 2015
There’s a common misconception that Bitcoin is an anonymous medium of exchange.
All in a 100% transparent, public ledger, available to anyone with a computer in its entirety.
Currently, for pure Bitcoin to Bitcoin transactions, there are multiple ways to discover the location and identity of the individual in question.
Is Bitcoin anonymous? | Feb 2015
I think that the best succinct answer to “is Bitcoin anonymous” is, it is more anonymous than credit cards but less anonymous than cash money.
The 11 Myths of Bitcoin – Myth #1: Crime | Feb 2015
Anyone, including law enforcement, taxing authorities or anyone else, has the same access to the master ledger as any other person anyone else in the world. This ledger has a full and easily viewable history of all transactions that have ever occurred and will ever occur on the Bitcoin network. Consequently, unlike paper currency, which can disappear and reappear with no record of transfer or trace of exchange, every single Bitcoin transaction is available for all the world to see and cannot be hidden, or obscured or changed.
contrary to what many people believe law enforcement is in a better position when criminals use Bitcoin than they are when criminals use paper currency.
Forensics and Bitcoin | Jan 2015
Bitcoin was not designed to be anonymous
Bitcoin user de-anonymisation, particularly block chain analysis, is an area which I foresee being of ongoing interest to academia and commercial communities.
It’s a controversial notion: the fact that there are ways to allow for de-anonymizing bitcoin transactions.
How to Launder Stolen Bitcoins | Jan 2015
Bitcoin’s main problem is that every transaction is public.
Disclaimer: If your goal is to launder stolen bitcoins and you rely on this article as your sole source you will fail.
So much for the anonymity of bitcoin.
As the FBI proved this week, if you know the name of a bitcoin wallet holder, then the blockchain becomes laid bare in a way that’s better than any traditional forensic accounting examination
All forms of currency, be they paper or digital, will be abused in some form or fashion by those up to no good. At least with the blockchain, there’s a trail of breadcrumbs to follow after all’s said and done.
Bitcoins Are Easier To Track Than You Think | Jan 2015
Bitcoin is sometimes thought of as the prime anonymous cash of the Internet, believed to be as untraceable as an under-the-table payment to a babysitter or a drug dealer. But the dramatic trial of Ross Ulbricht, […] is finally putting those misconceptions to rest.
But more generally, it shows that bitcoin isn’t always as anonymous as it’s made out to be.
This pseudonymity does help people keep their transactions relatively private. It does not, however, make it impossible or even particularly difficult to find out who is doing what with the digital currency.
The community, by using the public blockchain ledger, is able to track where all Bitcoin-related balances are located.
The Coinalytics Address Tracker allows anyone to enter in an address and look at how it relates to other addresses in a specific period of time. The Tracker also shows identifying data about Bitcoin addresses such as balance information.
If someone can identify a user’s bitcoin addresses […] then they can often be used to trace his or her transactions.
How Anonymous is Bitcoin? | Jan 2015
Average users should be aware that it is certainly less anonymous than cash.
Meanwhile, dedicated users willing to go through extraordinary lengths can find ways to acquire and use bitcoin anonymously, but the open nature of the transaction ledger and other unknowns leave open the possibility that identities and activities once considered perfectly secure may be revealed at some point down the road.
A group of researchers in Luxembourg say they have found a way to uncover the identities of Bitcoin users
a hacker could discover the identity of a Bitcoin user by spending just under €1,500 on an attack involving several computers
Bitcoin is insanely traceable.
If you don’t know who’s behind a given wallet, that looks a lot like anonymity, but once a person is tied to a given wallet, their financial activity becomes instantly and painfully public.
Standard transactions are pseudonymous. ECDSA key pairs abstract the identity of users. No mechanism exists to hide or encrypt standard transaction information in the block chain.
Gavin Andresen about Bitcoin | May 2014
Ideally […] must strike the balance consumer privacy and the ability for law endofcement to find bad people doing bad things[11:11]
privacy and anonimity in bitcoin is very complicated thing. Every bitcoin transaction is public. [11:28]
Are bitcoins anonymous? | Dec 2014
One of the drawbacks of this innovative feature however, is that it is difficult to maintain anonymity during a transaction.
With the mountains of information available in cyberspace today, it is not difficult for someone who is trying to find out your identity to link that address used for delivery to your personal information somehow. Once that piece falls into place in the puzzle, the idea of anonymity is permanently gone.
Tougher to Use Bitcoin for Crime? | Dec 2014
Three University of Luxembourg researchers say they have identified techniques that can be used to determine the identity of anonymous Bitcoin users for between 11 percent and 60 percent of all Bitcoin transactions, “depending on how stealthy [the] attacker wants to be.”
The researchers also say they can defeat users who attempt to hide behind firewalls or network address translation.
Bitcoin project has never promised absolute anonymity, warning that every related transaction gets publicly logged, which means that, over time, transactions might be tied to specific wallets, and wallets back to people.
imagine what happens if the U.S. National Security Agency, U.K. GCHQ, and their fellow intelligence agencies bring their processing power to bear on deanonymizing Bitcoin transactions.
The company seems to be tracking what their customers are buying with Bitcoin and closing any accounts involved in transactions that the company objects to.
But it appears that Coinbase has crossed the line by not only tracking coins purchased through its service, but also tracking how users spend their Bitcoins after withdrawing them from their Coinbase wallets.
Bitcoin Mythology: Red-herrings and Bullshit | Dec 2014
Myth Four: Bitcoin is anonymous
But in practice, bitcoin isn’t anonymous so much as pseudonymous; if a user’s name is tied to his or her bitcoin addresses, anyone—cop, corporate data hound, random snoop—can follow the blockchain to learn every detail of where his or her bitcoins end up.
“It doesn’t matter if the bagman is wearing a mask and a hoodie if the bills are marked,” as Johns Hopkins computer science researcher Ian Miers puts it. “With bitcoin, all the bills are marked.”
Anonymity is usually seen as the enemy of state control and recently it looks like the Bitcoin community and leaders is doing everything they can to bend over backwards in order to please their regulators.
Bitcoin companies, that will be looking to make nice with regulators, will not want to rock the boat, and since Bitcoin companies will be flipping the dime for development, it is unlikely they will want the developers to focus on anonymity.
It’s gotten a lot of attention but how anonymous is it? Not very, if you have computers and about $1,500.
In their new analysis, researchers […] have shown that Bitcoin does not protect user’s IP address and that it can be linked to the user’s transactions in real-time.
10 Myths About Bitcoin | Nov 2014
- Bitcoin Is Anonymous
Now you already have companies that are specialized in tracking bitcoins transaction and that can by crosschecking transactions identify bitcoins users.
Not easily done but it can be done and US federal authorities have already done it several time.
Bitcoin does not protect a user’s IP address and the digital currency can be linked to the user’s transactions in real-time by hackers, scientists have warned.
Moreover, the popular anonymisation network ‘Tor’ can do little to guarantee Bitcoin user’s anonymity, since it can be blocked easily.
This Bitcoin network analysis combined with previous research on transaction flows shows that the level of anonymity in the Bitcoin network is quite low.
Bitcoin is a highly-traceable protocol.
Every transaction is publicly and permanently recorded on the blockchain, and can be tracked right back to the block from which it was mined.
We present an efficient method to deanonymize Bitcoin users, which allows to link user pseudonyms to the IP addresses where the transactions are generated.
Cryptology and Security of the University of Luxembourg have shown that Bitcoin does not protect user’s IP address and that it can be linked to the user’s transactions in real-time.
the level of anonymity in the Bitcoin network is quite low.
Anonymity and the Block Chain | Nov 2014
Bitcoin is only pseudonymous.
all transactions are linked in a public record going back through time. It is in this way that the blockchain can fall to forensic analysis.
Anonymity is difficult to achieve with most cryptocurrencies as the blockchains themselves are open to linking transactions and tracing payments.
To remain anonymous on the Bitcoin blockchain itself requires careful understanding of how Bitcoin works and should not be taken lightly
Bitcoin is what you’d called pseudonymous.
What is Bitcoin? | Oct 2014
One very important misconception commonly addressed about Bitcoin is that it is completely anonymous.
Bitcoin is NOT anonymous. At best, transactions are pseudonymous, meaning they use addresses in place of names.
we must understand Bitcoin is not necessarily anonymous, and in some ways it is far from it.
Bitcoin is hardly anonymous, unless you mine it
Perhaps the ugliest thing about Bitcoin’s pseudonymity, is the misconception that by using Bitcoin, no one knows what you are using your money for.
Anonymous Crypto-currency Arms Race Part 1 | Oct 2014
Early, and until quite recently, Bitcoin was synonymous with financial anonymity.
As Bitcoin’s lack of anonymity have become more and more well know, a urgency has emerged.
Demand for anonymous bitcoin? | Oct 2014
What has saddened me in recent years is the move from bitcoin roots of a privacy preserving technology, to one now in the stranglehold of AML/KYC policies, to the point where sellers are now boasting they are XYZ compliant.
Is Bitcoin actually anonymous | Oct 2014
On the one hand, it is entirely anonymous. On the other, it is completely transparent and trackable since all transaction are recorded in a public ledger.
Bitcoin doesn’t want “anonymous” (I) | Oct 2014
The idea that the accounting ledger of Bitcoin, the blockchain, is accessible to all is a real beauty.
To give an obvious example, if you go about wasting or losing bitcoins, it is precisely your lack of anonymity that benefits us by marking you as a bad economic agent
Bitcoin may have the potential for anonymity. But it may also have the potential to help government monitor how people spend money.
There is at least one private company – Coin Validation – that want to make use of the public Bitcoin ledger to create a centralized tracking system linking real identities with associated Bitcoin addresses.
It is not as good for that purpose as a fully anonymous currency would be, since the bitcoin transactions of my online identity are public.
Crypto Bits with Kristov Atlas | Sep 2014
Bitcoin is engineered to allow users to select their own desired level of privacy. Unfortunately, the software that we have for Bitcoin use today is heavily weighted toward a rather abysmal degree of privacy.
Worse yet, users are often unaware of these compromises.
Bitcoin, Anonymous ECash, and Strong Privacy | Sep 2014
Bitcoin is, in a sense, the least anonymous money that has ever existed, since every transaction is observable by anyone with a bitcoin account.
Transactions are shown as between accounts, not between people. But all that is necessary to link a realspace person to at least one of his accounts is to make a bitcoin payment to him and see what account the money goes to.
That works as a way of monitoring bitcoin transactions made by a realspace identity.
Is Bitcoin Anonymous? | Aug 2014
While the digital currency can be used in a private and secure manner, it is definitely not anonymous by default.
Bitcoin was created to solve the problem of censorship resistance more than anonymity in finance
The fact that every Bitcoin user needs to be tracked whenever they make a purchase is basically an admittance from most governments that there is no such thing as financial privacy. This was one of the main reasons that Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin in the first place.
Cases involving Silk Road, BitInstant, and a few other companies in the Bitcoin space have taught us that Bitcoin is definitely not anonymous at this point in time.
Bitcoin Privacy vs Anonymity | Aug 2014
radical transparency is easier than radical anonymity [0:26]
The inability to really verify the holder of an address is an issue. On the other hand, if you though about a company doing a lot of its internal business over the blockchain, […], they would worry that they would have to take a lot of effort to make sure they wont reveal companies secrets that way. [1:40]
As it [Bitcoin] goes out to prime time you want to be able avoid mass survival, avoid individuals poking you out, but allow financial institutions […] to have some control over who they are transacting with. [2:06]
CryptoNote Currencies – Anonymous 3rd Gen | Aug 2014
Regulatory detractors claim that Bitcoin is anonymous, but a closer look reveals that Bitcoin is only psuedonymous.
Separating Fact from Fiction: The Bitcoin | Aug 2014
Fiction: Bitcoin users are anonymous
Review of Cryptonote White Paper | Jul 2014
Even Bitcoin only recently has had a rigorous security analysis applied to its methods, and it is known that Bitcoin fails unlinkability and untraceability.
Bitcoin users are becoming aware that they are not truly anonymous and are turning their attention to anonymous cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and Security | Jun 2014
Bitcoin transaction records are totally open, and everyone can see every transaction. (It’s hard to imagine that being the case in the offline banking world, but Bitcoin adheres to the Net’s philosophy that everything should be open unless there is a great harm in making it open.)
In current practice, a Bitcoin wallet is not totally anonymous, as most of the Bitcoin exchanges are required by governments to provide real-world identification when trying to cash out from the system.
For example, this is a Bitcoin ATM. It was recently set up near where I live, so I stopped by to try it out. It requires government-issued ID, takes a photo of my face and palm print, and does phone verification via SMS.
A Bitcoin backgrounder for Preppers | May 2014
The public ledger doesn’t have your name or any personal identifying information. But anyone can see every transaction, where the bitcoin came from and where it went.
When eventually that bitcoin is turned into cash, it is traceable, if you have the resources of a large U.S. federal agency.
“Sorry,” he [Jeff Garzik] declared. “Bitcoins aren’t anonymous. [The currency] is more private and more anonymous than your credit card or PayPal. But it is less private and less anonymous than just face-to-face cash transactions.”
The importance of anonymous cryptocurrencies | May 2014
This is where the public nature of the block chain becomes salient: in a hypothetical world where Bitcoin is commonly used for everyday transactions and deanonymization happens as a matter of course, users will have much less privacy than with cash or credit cards.
At least in today’s world your transactions are only exposed to merchants, banks, and any intermediaries, whereas we’re talking about a scenario where they’d be exposed publicly, permanently, and irreversibly.
Bitcoin is NOT Anonymous | May 2014
Lots of people like to think Bitcoin is anonymous. […] The reality is that Bitcoin is not anonymous.
It is easy to trick yourself into thinking that because transactions are tied to Bitcoin addresses they are not tied to you. Unless you are extremely careful that is not true.
If you are looking to hide how much Bitcoin you have from Big Brother or anyone else, good luck.
Bitcoin cannot offer strong privacy guarantees: payment transactions are recorded in a public decentralized ledger, from which much information can be deduced.
Is Bitcoin anonymous and untraceable? | May 2014
Despite its reputation as an anonymous currency, bitcoin transactions are in some ways nakedly public–even more so than those made with traditional money.
If bitcoiners don’t take special pains to anonymize their coins, all of their spending can potentially be traced back to their bitcoin addresses by any corporation or government agency that cares to look.
Is This the End of Bitcoin Anonymity? | Apr 2014
The idea that Bitcoin should not be anonymous strikes at the heart of what many see as a fundamental feature of the digital currency.
The idea that identities would be assigned to transactions could hamper growth of the currency.
Despite its reputation as an anonymous currency, bitcoin transactions are in some ways nakedly public — even more so than those made with traditional money.
Bitcoin does not provide anonymity | Apr 2014
All transactions are always available to everybody, in a clear and condense form.
Bitcoin has its advantages; but cash-like anonymity is not one of them.
The Fierce Battle for the Soul of Bitcoin | Mar 2014
The currency straddles the line between transparency and privacy. All transactions happen out in the open, recorded on bitcoin’s public ledger.
Increasing Anonymity in Bitcoin | Mar 2014
bitcoin raises serious privacy concerns because all the information is public and permanently stored
Mining the Block Chain: Regulatory Surveillance, Bitcoin and the Dangers of Digital Currencies | Mar 2014
In Australia’s case, the AML/CTF regulator is quietly attempting to fuse together […] sophisticated analysis of crypto-currency “blockchains” to monitor illicit transactions using digital currencies.
One of the greatest misapprehensions about crypto-currencies is that they provide anonymity for their users.
When combined with other data sources, this [high-tech analytical tools] is sufficient to identify not only individual users but also their transaction histories.
Choo said there was little doubt that Bitcoin was part of the money laundering arsenal, but said the anonymity it provided had been over-played, especially given the sophisticated tools available to agencies such as AUSTRAC
And while encrypted currencies like Bitcoin are not always completely anonymous, they are far more private than banks, bank cards, and credit cards.
there are a number of nice papers […] showing that it [Bitcoin] is extremely not private [25:15]
Bitcoin has weak fungibility [27:30]
It’s [Bitcoin] been used for two different and conflicting purposes. It [weak fungibility] was treated as a feature and a bug. Users are being assured that […] that it’s somewhat private, and at the same time, banks and government are being assured that is not very private. [28:00]
The problem is that fungibility tends to provide privacy as a side effect [29:10]
Bitcoin’s privacy itself is very fragile [30:15]
Anonymous Bitcoin | Feb 2014
The Blockchain records transactions forever, and an investigator may have interest in transactions from a year ago, five years ago, or ten years ago.
It’s also trivial work for investigators to collect additional, de-anonymizing information now and store it indefinitely.
We can guarantee that investigators will get better over time, while the methods that bitcoin owners use to anonymize their ownership are frozen in time when recorded in the Blockchain.
Imagine that you can only perform financial transactions by paying with paper bills that are marked with serial numbers. These easily tracked, numbered bills are the bitcoins in this scenario.
As bitcoins enter the stream of commerce, we should all consider the privacy implications associated with the use of bitcoins in commercial transactions.
Until recently, the public nature of the block chain has not raised many privacy concerns since the identities of the parties on either side of any given transaction are not publicly known.
However, the possibility exists that businesses might create “bitcoin identification networks” modeled after our current third-party ad networks.
Bitcoin is less anonymous than cash.
bitcoin has built-in FATCA controls, meaning that it is not really that anonymous at all nor hard for agencies like the National Security Agency, etc., to detect.
Again, bitcoin does not allow for anonymous transactions like cash does.
Bitcoin is not anonymous. Again, not nearly as anonymous as cash.
Richard Stallman: The Problem With Bitcoin | Feb 2014
The problem with bitcoin is that it’s not anonymous
better approach to digital currency was invented by cryptographer David Chaum in the 1980s. […] Mr. Stallman said the benefit of this approach was that the communication between the customer and the system was done in such a way that transactions were anonymous.
The real issue is not so much “anonymity”, but “fungibility” in the transaction layer.
I would prefer to see stronger anonymity and complete currency fungibility built into the transaction layer so that all layers above can benefit from it.
Secure and private transactions without traceability should be a feature available to all users of bitcoin, not just those running “special” applications.
Bitcoin is not anonymous to the average user.
It may seem intuitive that if you want to keep your identity secret, simply use a new address for each transaction. Sounds easy enough. In practice though, this proves to be tricky.
How the Bitcoin protocol actually works | Dec 2013
the claim that Bitcoin is anonymous is a myth.
Although Bitcoin addresses aren’t immediately associated to real-world identities, computer scientists have done a great deal of work figuring out how to de-anonymize “anonymous” social networks. The block chain is a marvellous target for these techniques.
I will be extremely surprised if the great majority of Bitcoin users are not identified with relatively high confidence and ease in the near future.
I would not be at all surprised if the NSA and other agencies have already de-anonymized many users.
It is, in fact, ironic that Bitcoin is often touted as anonymous. It’s not. Bitcoin is, instead, perhaps the most open and transparent financial instrument the world has ever seen.
If you know how bitcoin works and are very motivated to protect your anonymity, that is possible. The problem is there are more people who don’t know.
There’s this tension between privacy and anonymity, and then usability. If you’re not super into bitcoin, if you’re just doing this as a way to make money, at some point, doing what I just described might be unattractive. That might be enough of a deterrent to not bother.
If Bitcoin can not be traced, how do people know that FBI holds the biggest bitcoin wallet?| Dec 2013
It’s not true that Bitcoin cannot be traced. The entire ledger of transactions is completely public. Every transaction and the size of that transaction is known to everyone.
The only “secret” part of Bitcoin is that your Bitcoin address is not publicly associated with any real name. But if someone finds out which Bitcoin addresses you have (i.e. you pay someone on the internet for an item and give them your shipping address) then they can find out quite a lot about you.
7. Bitcoin is untraceable
In the end, anonymity in bitcoin is an illusion since the government has an unlimited amount of resources to track acquisitions by people who might be considered the enemies of the state.
Free software advocate, Richard Stallman, warns that most Bitcoin transactions are easily traceable.
Richard Stallman has called for an anonymous alternative to Bitcoin to “make democracy safe”.
If you are an ordinary person, the way you could do it is by paying with a credit card to a company that will exchange government currency for Bitcoins. The credit card identifies you, so when you get Bitcoins in return, the government can see who you are.
The point is, we need anonymity to make democracy safe.
Real Crypto-Anarchy Without Anonymity | Dec 2013
Anonymity is not something you can easily manage like a single encryption key.
And since the network activity is easily recordable, one mistake is enough to reveal oneself.
In other words, the cost of anonymity is rather high compared to the benefits.
Stallman warns about Bitcoin peril | Dec 2013
He said that an anonymous payment system is also required for us to start “taking control of our digital lives”.
But he said that the biggest problem with Bitcoin is that it is not anonymous.
It’s like an accountant’s wet dream – debits and credits everywhere.
Some may say that their identities are “hidden” or “obscured,” but that really doesn’t matter unless you’re actively trying to hide the fact that you earned income. […] That is tax fraud – plain and simple.
Free software advocate Richard Stallman has warned Bitcoin owners who believe they are untraceable that it is, in fact, easy for governments to track users, and called for a for “truly anonymous” crypto-currency to “make democracy safe”.
I have to point out that Bitcoin is not anonymous – that’s not part of its design.
The well-respected computer programmer, who has long campaigned for the use of free software which comes with the rights to modify, copy and distribute source code, called for a new crypto-currency to replace Bitcoin that is impossible to track.
Judging by what I’ve read, chances are that everything important you’ve heard about Bitcoin is wrong.
Bitcoin is not anonymous by default.
It is pseudonymous. If you use the same pseudonym (in this case, a key pair from your Bitcoin digital wallet) in multiple locations, then all that activity can be traced back to the same place.
Then you have the equivalent of a currency where the criminals almost volunteer to start using the digital equivalent of “marked bills” from those old FBI sting movies.
But bitcoins are much more susceptible to tracking than either cash or gold, the current off-the-radar transaction tools most used to evade authorities.
The privacy properties of Bitcoin are such that the more addresses can be reliably linked to their users’ identities the easier it becomes to uncover other identities as well.
Once even a few address-owner pairs are known, however, they can be used as “anchors” to discover other address owners as well – employers, business customers, friends, anyone with whom you have a relationship with that is visible on both the real world level and the Bitcoin level is potentially fair game.
Is Bitcoin a Government Conspiracy? | Nov 2013
the pseudo-anonymous currency could actually be the perfect way for governments to keep an NSA-like eye on the world’s transactions.
3 Big Misconceptions About Bitcoin | Nov 2013
- Bitcoin transactions are anonymous and untraceable.
is bitcoin anonymous, or can it be tracked? The conclusion they found: yes.
Bitcoin transactions and wallets are shown in public for the world to see, making it very difficult to conceal stolen bitcoins.
much anonymity still largely depends on the amount of bitcoins being tracked.
It is very difficult to track a bitcoin equivalent of $100, but $10,000,000 is a different matter entirely.
Bitcoin has often been called an “anonymous” currency, but recent criminal enforcement actions have shown that individuals who use the currency for fraudulent purposes are not as nameless as they might hope.
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego and George Mason University undertook research to identify ways in which Bitcoin transactions could be grouped and traced back to specific users.
Their plan is to compile a database of the known identities associated with Bitcoin addresses in the hope that Coin Validation will become the one-stop-identity shop for law enforcement when trying to find out who’s doing something nefarious with Bitcoin, while providing a red-flag system for businesses who have customers trying to use Bitcoin that’s associated with illicit use.
People say Bitcoin is anonymous, but it’s also completely traceable.
Because the blockchain is already public, your privacy is limited, but a lot of people probably aren’t aware that they are being tracked.
The existing Bitcoin community will find this very controversial from a privacy perspective.
The average user is not sophisticated enough to launder Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is, by design, highly vulnerable to network analysis.
Because the entire transaction graph of Bitcoin is public, anyone can perform network analysis on the whole Bitcoin network.
Network analysis backed up with law enforcement or hacking, however, could be extremely effective
Obtaining the transaction logs of a currency exchange would give a starting points from which the rest of the transaction graph can be de-anonymised.
CryptoNote v 2.0 | Oct 2013
Unfortunately, Bitcoin does not satisfy the untraceability requirement.
Since all the transactions that take place between the network’s participants are public, any transaction can be unambiguously traced to a unique origin and final recipient.
Bitcoin’s failure to satisfy the two properties outlined above leads us to conclude that it is not an anonymous but a pseudo-anonymous electronic cash system.
Although the Bitcoin developers themselves and some of the community are highly aware that Bitcoin is at least theoretically not private, it’s not clear that the general user population is.
the biggest threat to Bitcoin security is the fact that users don’t know just how insecure a Bitcoin actually is.
researchers assessed the possibility of tracking transactions carried out within the peer-to-peer economy.
a perceived lack of security might be what ultimately drives criminals away from services like Tor and Bitcoin.
it could be surprisingly easy for a law enforcement agency to identify many users of the currency.
The new research provides important evidence of how much Bitcoin’s design limits user privacy.
The Truth About Bitcoin | Sep 2013
The notion that Bitcoin is anonymous out-of-the-box is a myth, and few users are sufficiently educated to use Bitcoin as anonymously as possible. [46:00]
Bitcoin Transaction Privacy | Sep 2013
If a Bitcoin address is linked to an identity then all the transactions can be seen by anyone.
Recent reports have implied that nearly all transactions can be linked back to an owner.
The truth is somewhere in between but it takes a little understanding of how Bitcoin transactions work.
Bitcoin is not actually anonymous, but pseudonymous. Each Bitcoin transaction is verified and recorded in a public ledger by all computers running the Bitcoin network.
Criminals using Bitcoin will leave a perpetual smoking gun in the public ledger that could tie their identities to the illegal transactions.
CoinJoin: Bitcoin privacy for the real world | Aug 2013
Poor privacy in Bitcoin can be a major practical disadvantage for both individuals and businesses.
You might have good practices but when you trade with people who don’t (say ones using “green addresses”) you and everyone you trade with loses some privacy.
I think this must be improved, urgently.
Bitcoin is a bit of a paradox. It can be used nearly anonymously: any two people can easily set up brand new Bitcoin wallets, meet in a park, and exchange cash for Bitcoin.
But at the same time, Bitcoin trades are public: all transactions are shared in a publicly available file called the Blockchain that’s posted to the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network.
That public ledger makes it pretty tough for big-time criminals to launder money through the network.
The researchers argue that it’s often possible, when paired with current law enforcement tools, to learn a lot of information about people who are moving Bitcoins.
Following the Bitcoin trail | Aug 2013
Sarah Meiklejohn of the University of California at San Diego and her colleagues argue that Bitcoin may not be quite as private as had been assumed.
Is Bitcoin Really Anonymous? | Aug 2013
Bitcoin may not be as anonymous as you think.
Probably the most flagrant lack of anonymity lies in the public nature of the transactions on the Bitcoin network.
So is Bitcoin completely anonymous? The answer is, it could be. However, it would take a great deal of work and precautions to be totally anonymous.
Bitcoin Simplified: Anonymity | Aug 2013
achieving reasonable anonymity with Bitcoin can be quite complicated and perfect anonymity may be impossible.
Bitcoin May Not Be So Anonymous, After All | Aug 2013
While Bitcoin is not as transparent to regulators as credit-card transactions, it is much more so than cash. “
The block chain is available to whomever wants to look at it, without subpoena or probable cause. There is no reason why law enforcement officials couldn’t do their own metadata analysis.”
Average bitcoin users appear to be unaware at how quickly their bitcoin spending could be linked back to them.
By analyzing those transactions, they found it is possible to somewhat deanonymize bitcoin users, opening up avenues through which investigators could reveal the people behind them.
“I do think inherently Bitcoin can provide you with a huge amount of anonymity, but the argument here is you have to work for it,” Meiklejohn said. But most patterns of bitcoin use “indicate most users are falling short.
Two anonymous activists have proposed an alternative to Bitcoin, which would fork the protocol to retain more anonymity for users.
The authors also worry that bitcoins used in merchant transactions can already be traced back to the exchange where the coins were purchased.
Garzik argues that these features are not needed. “A corporation that wishes for its finances to be auditable by the world at large will not want these proposed anonymity features,” he says, adding that pro-anonymity tools and services can be layered on top of the protocol. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if major corporations or governments published completely open, transparent, auditable, cryptographically proven accounting? Bitcoin technology enables that.”
Bitcoin community has identified many of the risks inherent in coupling a degree of anonymity with the irreversibility of Bitcoin transactions. Unfortunately, the partial solutions which have emerged to address those risks […] do little to address what is, for many users, a significantly higher priority. That higher priority is privacy.
Ironically, however, preoccupation with anonymity, and especially the makeshift solutions designed to address problems which anonymity creates, risk making privacy in the Bitcoin economy worse, rather than better.
Advocating for privacy does not and should not require advocating that Bitcoin users hide their identities.
Bitcoin transactions are themselves a matter of public record, and network analysis tools can trace the ongoing flow of specific units of currency through transactions involving new addresses.
Bitcoin’s public record of transactions makes violations of privacy even more of a potential liability than in most other methods of transacting monetary value.
Once the buyer provides personally identifying information to the merchant, the status of that person’s privacy, including the link between them and the publicly visible transaction, becomes dependent upon the subsequent actions of the merchant. That person’s privacy also potentially affects the privacy of all the other individuals using that specific Bitcoin, by providing what amounts to an identifiable anchor point for analysis of the Bitcoin network flow.
Relying on the degree of anonymity provided by the protocol itself offers an entirely false sense of security when it comes to your privacy: once information leakage occurs, it leaks big time.
Bitcoin business can come with an unexpected pricetag: privacy.
because all transactions are recorded publicly on the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network, once you know the Bitcoin address of the person you’re paying, it’s possible to track all other payments made to that address.
It’s very easy for merchants to inadvertently expose the details of their supply chain, their finances, and their spending habits
“Bitcoin transaction privacy is really complicated,” he [Gaven Andresen] says. “If you want to be sure that your transactions are going to be private, then you probably need to hire a cryptography PhD to analyse your system.”
“It’s definitely a concern, and it’s definitely part of the reason I say that Bitcoin is an experiment,” Andresen adds.
Maintaining anonymity while using Bitcoins | Jun 2013
Bitcoin is not a truly anonymous digital currency.
Network analysis can reveal which exchange service you bought your bitcoins from.
One quick note, unless you’re mining your own coins (hey, not a bad idea!) you will have to deal with and trust someone, somewhere, to get your bitcoins.
Bitcoin is not inherently as anonymous as cold, hard cash.
Despite the popular misconception, Bitcoin is not truly anonymous.
If you want to be sure that your transactions are going to be private, then you probably need to hire a cryptography PhD to analyse your system.
If you know a person’s Bitcoin address, which is analogous to an email address, it’s possible to track every transaction linked to that address.
It is important that users do not have a false expectation of anonymity.
The Politics Of Bitcoin Mixing Services | Jun 2013
One can only defer the bitcoin privacy issue for so long. At some point, Bitcoin core developers, mining operators, lobbyists, and industry thought leaders have to take a principled position and decide on what side of history they wish to stand.
Bitcoin is not nearly as anonymous as it’s been made out to be.
In fact, it’s probably the most transparent currency.
these accounts were created to store, but never use, the Bitcoins belonging to the system’s creator. […] Bitcoin’s creator wishes to remain anonymous, and knows that making a single transaction could tip his hand.
How anonymous is Bitcoin? | Jun 2013
On the one hand, it is entirely anonymous. On the other, it is completely transparent and trackable.
- So it’s less anonymous than you might think
Canada Goes After Bitcoin; Saskatoon Realtor Lists Home Priced in Bitcoins; Is Bitcoin a Money Laundering Machine? | May 2013
If you think the anonymity of bitcoin will hide what you are doing, you probably better think twice. And the more popular bitcoin gets, the more government will be asking questions.
But contrary to conventional wisdom, Bitcoin is not anonymous.
There are a multitude of anonymous payments systems out there, similar to Liberty Reserve, of which there are over 100, […] Bitcoin operates with greater transparency than those systems.
If Bitcoin became a truly anonymous payment system, security experts say it would spur far greater scrutiny if it hasn’t already.
More Privacy Vulnerabilities in Bitcoin | May 2013
I privately disclose these problems [with privacy] with the core dev team, but apparently they think they shouldn’t solve these kind of privacy issues, since it’s not worth the trouble.
Gavin has many times said he is waiting for someone to build an anonymization layer on top of Bitcoin, so the privacy problem magically goes away.
I want to alert Bitcoin users that Bitcoin privacy is still weak.
IDGNS: Can Bitcoin transactions be completely anonymous?
Garzik: The stock answer is no, it’s pseudo-anonymous, sort of like a Swiss bank account, it’s a number. But if you go through a lot of effort it can be anonymous.
IDGNS: Isn’t the anonymity and inability to trace transactions one of the things that worries the federal government?
Garzik:That’s the big thing with licensing the bitcoin exchanges, if you can regulate that gateway then you have a good chance of attacking the problem directly.
Zerocoin: making Bitcoin anonymous | Apr 2013
The rough edge that particularly interests me is user privacy. Or rather, Bitcoin’s troubling lack of it.
So what’s the problem? The block chain is Bitcoin’s greatest strength. Unfortunately from a privacy perspective, it’s also the currency’s greatest weakness.
In a sense this makes Bitcoin less private than cash, and even worse than credit cards. If you choose to engage in sensitive transactions on Bitcoin, you should be aware that a record will be preserved for all eternity.
Already several academic works have succeeded in de-anonymizing Bitcoin transactions. And this work is just getting started.
If you’re a Bitcoin user who values your privacy, this should worry you.
Is Bitcoin Really Anonymous? | Apr 2013
Think you’re covering your tracks with bitcoin? Don’t be so sure.
Is bitcoin anonymous? The answer is yes, if you make some effort, and no, if you don’t.
Bitcoin is unique, in that it is one of the most transparent, and yet opaque, systems for monetary transactions available.
The bottom line is that bitcoin is ‘quasi-anonymous’. You can certainly hide your activities in the network, but if you get it wrong, then the stakes are high: you may be more visible than you ever would’ve been when simply using cash.
The War On Bitcoin—and Anonymity | Mar 2013
Contrary to some popular accounts, Bitcoin is not completely anonymous, but pseudonymous. The entire Bitcoin ledger is publicly shared so that the same coins can’t be spent twice.
Bitcoin is not untraceable.
Bitcoin is more traceable than traditional banking, where the transaction information is at least hidden from public view.
On the other hand, the moment the government decides it wants to bust you, they will, and all the information they need to do it will be publicly listed on the internet for all to see.
Bitcoin is not (entirely) anonymous.
Secure multiparty Bitcoin anonymization | Jul 2012
Bitcoin is a pseudonymous protocol. […] With some simple network analysis collections of addresses can be linked together and identified.
Bitcoin transactions are published online, but the only information that identifies a Bitcoin user is a Bitcoin address, making the transaction anonymous. Or at least somewhat anonymous. As the FBI points out in its report, the anonymity depends on the actions of the user.
While BitCoin developers have tried to make it clear that anonymity is not a feature that exists by design, it is something which appeals to many BitCoin users and is also one of the points that its opponents use to attack it.
The problem is that it is actually very easy to build a profile of a BitCoin user and all of their transactions using a combination of the information that is actually available within the BitCoin network and by gathering publicly available information from off-network resources.
As I have already said, it is not meant to be a designed feature of the currency, but many people use the currency as if their anonymity is assured.
Is Bitcoin Safe? | May 2012
Bitcoins are a semi-anonymous
All Bitcoin transactions are public information. Anyone can know the amount, the time, and the wallet numbers of the two participants. They may not necessarily know who the human owners of the digital wallets are.
Bitcoin is not Anonymous.
straight-forward passive analysis of public data that allows us to de-anonymize considerable portions of the Bitcoin network.
How anonymous are Bitcoin transactions? | Aug 2011
Technically the appropriate term is “pseudonymous” – imagine that your bitcoin address is like an email address or an online alias: how hard it is to trace to your actions depend largely on what you do with it.
It is considered pseudo-anonymous. With casual usage, it is not very anonymous at all.
Bitcoin transactions can be traced back to your IP address. The history of all transactions can be analyzed for spatial and temporal correlations. If one address can be linked to a person, then related transactions can be identified.
And, you have to know what you’re doing to use it in complete anonymity. I would not advise using bitcoin if you are seeking complete anonymity.
How Private Are Bitcoin Transactions? | Jul 2011
But if Bitcoin becomes popular, the government will build precisely the same infrastructure for spying on the Bitcoin network. And when they do, it will become clear that for ordinary users, Bitcoin is, if anything, less surveillance-resistent than traditional cash.
Bitcoin is not anonymous | Jul 2011
it never stated to be, it’s pseudonymous.
we have always known that bitcoin is not anonymous. we can see all the transactions, and track the ownership of all coins.
But untraceable transactions are not an inherent part of Bitcoin at this point, and given the architecture of the system they will probably never be, regardless of the importance the community puts on anonymity.
There’s a common myth that Bitcoin is anonymous.
Because your transactions can be linked together, some prefer to say that Bitcoin is at best pseudonymous.
It’s possible for an investigator to put together enough information to get a decent idea of who you’re involved with and what you’re interested in buying, particularly if you’ve been involved in transactions with others who have made their Bitcoin address public.
People who use Bitcoin to ensure their purchases remain anonymous may want to reconsider their reliance on the online peer-to-peer currency, say researchers who have investigated the network of Bitcoin transactions.
Anyone can view every transaction, but since there is no public record linking addresses to users and users can have any number of addresses many people assumed it would not be possible to trace transactions to a particular individual. Now Fergal Reid and Martin Harrigan of University College Dublin, Ireland, say this assumption is wrong.
most casual users of Bitcoin may not be anonymous, even though many of them may believe they are.
Bitcoin is not without its flaws.
Jeff Garzik, one of Bitcoin’s primary developers, has repeatedly told journalists: “Attempting major illicit transactions with Bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb.”
The first is that the media often say that Bitcoin is anonymous, and I would say that anyone that works in the development of Bitcoin would agree that these reports are wrong.
So it has this worrisome property that later transactions can give you information about the identity of the people that performed the earlier transactions.
We really have been issuing corrections madly left and right to journalists and politicians alike that, when they claim that bitcoin is anonymous and untraceable, in fact, the opposite is true. It’s imminently traceable. Every single bitcoin user has a copy of the public bitcoin ledger on their computer [3:20]
its pretty blib and dumb to do a lot of illegal transactions on bitcoin when it’s so easily traceable [4:33]
the only way bitcoins can be successful is working with regulation and with the government [7:45]
Technology | Apr 2011
Bitcoin addresses contain no personal information attached to it, and are somewhat anonymous. However, it is still possible to track a user using transaction history, which is public to all users.
If an address is connected to a user, it is possible to trace the series of transactions, and subsequently, track the user.
Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users.
Anonymity | Jul 2010
The current BitCoin implementation is certainly better than using a credit card, but I wouldn’t use it in environments requiring strong anonymity without a lot of changes.
The history of a coin is publicly available. Anyone can see the flow of BitCoins from address to address. This becomes a problem when certain points in the “transaction chain” become known to the attacker.
The possibility to be anonymous or pseudonymous relies on you not revealing any identifying information about yourself in connection with the bitcoin addresses you use.
If you post your bitcoin address on the web, then you’re associating that address and any transactions with it with the name you posted under. If you posted under a handle that you haven’t associated with your real identity, then you’re still pseudonymous.
Re: Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper | Nov 2008
It’s supposed to be anonymous cash, right?
Actually no. It is however supposed to be pseudonymous
Below is a list of possible solutions to the anonymity and privacy issues in Bitcoin. It is not a complete list, since this is not the aim of this website. For other ways of overcoming these issues, you need to do your own homework. However, the links given below should help you get started.
Good practices and “proper” use of Bitcoin (no particular order)
- Protect your privacy
- Top Seven Ways Your Identity Can Be Linked to Your Bitcoin Address
- How to make your Bitcoin transactions more anonymous
- How can I hide my bitcoin transactions to protect anonymity?
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Anonymous Wallet for Covert Practices