Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gizmodo: A Friendly Reminder: Bitcoin Is Not Anonymous

Kate Knibbs at Gizmodo writes:
Hello my cryptocurrency-lovin' friends. I just want to have a casual chat, but not that casual, because I'm worried about some of you. Some of you who may be operating under the assumption that Bitcoin is anonymous. It is not...

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. Wired's Andy Greenberg explained how tracing Bitcoin transactions often comes down to simply knowing someone a snippet of information:
Although using bitcoins doesn't necessarily require revealing any identifying information, all bitcoin transactions are traced on the blockchain, the same widely distributed list of transactions designed to make counterfeiting bitcoins impossible. If someone can identify a user's bitcoin addresses—in Ulbricht's case, by seizing the laptop he was actively using at the moment of his arrest—then they can often be used to trace his or her transactions.
Researchers at the University of Luxembourg have highlighted methods to de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin pseudonymity can be broken in a number of ways, from tracking payments to monitoring IP address nodes. And while tumblers and programs like Dark Wallet help, there is no bulletproof solution that makes Bitcoin impenetrable.

In other words, Bitcoin is a terrible vehicle for those, like libertarians, who view anonymity from the prying eyes of government  an important characteristic of a money.

Belief that by using Bitcoin you will be protected from government tracking, and understanding your transactions, is a myth. Ask Ross Ulbricht.



  1. From the moment it was revealed that every transaction was recorded (for all time), it was clear that the creators of bit coin did not have our best interests at heart. It's a trap. Designed by the people who want to entrap you and be in control.

    Run Forrest, Run!!!

  2. Bitcoin is actually not anonymous anymore…. I totally agree with the author.