Anonymity bitcoin – myths and reality
Anonymity bitcoin causes a lot of controversy. Some believe that it is completely anonymous, and therefore ideal for all kinds of illegal transactions, from non-payment of taxes to the financing of terrorism. Others argue that any user can be calculated, so there’s nothing to count on.
The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle, and where exactly, we now will understand.
What is the basis for the anonymity of bitcoin?
The main factor on which the anonymity of bitcoin rests is that the user can always create a new address for sending funds. At the same time, to create an address, you do not need to enter any information about yourself, and the address itself represents a digital-alphabetic line, in which your name, surname, residence or other data is not encrypted.
«Conceptually, the bitcoin network is a series of translations between addresses where no one knows their identity»
How, then, are the owners calculated?
Ways to determine the relationship of an address with a particular person or organization can be divided into three categories:
- Hardware and software. The network does not have a single management center, the nodes send data to each other. And that node, on which the transaction comes from your computer, can write IP. The more someone has a node – the more information about transactions and IP owners, he can collect. You can get data through your ISP. All traffic goes through his server, and he can either himself or at the insistence of the authorities to share information.
- Custom- A frequent source of leaks about the ownership of addresses.
Receiving and sending bitcoins, buying goods for them, exchanging them for another crypto currency, you disclose some of the information. The bitcoins have sent someone – and now he knows that the address from which they came is yours. Have accepted someone’s payment – and the person again knows that the address to which he will send the funds belongs to you.
Paying for any product, service, you will reveal a part of your personality, so that the seller knows where and to whom the goods are delivered. Finally, when you exchange bitcoins for another digital or fiat currency on the stock exchange or another site – its owners receive information about you. At least login and IP.
And when people who are interested in you learn at least one of your bitcoins, the third way comes in the way – cluster analysis. All transactions are recorded in the locker and are in the public domain, so anyone can see from which addresses the bitcoins you’ve been sent to have come to. Further, the links of these addresses are analyzed, and so on, until the entire tangle of financial transactions is unraveled.
Many companies have torn the cover of anonymity with their business. The most famous office of this kind is Chainanalysis, among its clients are the FBI, the US Internal Revenue Service, Europol and other authoritative agencies. Only over the past year, the guys raised 700 thousand dollars, and to think that they will abandon this profitable business is very naively.
So what happens – anonymity in the network bitcoin is impossible?
As the example of its creator Satoshi Nakamoto shows – it is very possible, who he is, have not figured so far. However, for this he went offline and does not touch the colossal resources lying on his addresses, so his way is not for everyone. However, knowing where the threats originate, you can take certain measures that strengthen your defense and make it difficult for any attempt to calculate you.
- Hide your IP
Anonymizers, VPN, TOR will hide you from those who collect data about IP communications with addresses through full-sized nodes, owners of crypto forums and social networks where you communicate, exchanges where you trade (of course, if they do not require verification) Finally, the users with whom you conclude transactions directly.
Of course, all methods of anonymization have their own drawbacks, and in Russia they have been banned from November 1, 2017, but others will try to figure out your addresses or your addresses.
- Do not shine your personality
No matter how clever the Chainanalysis software is, it is useless until there is at least one related transaction. Try to keep it from appearing.
Do not specify the addresses on the resources where your name and surname appear. Get a separate e-mail for the related crypto-currency exchange, use nicknames on all resources that do not contain any information about you (name, city, date of birth), preferably on each resource use your nickname. Trade only on those exchanges where verification is not required.
Finally, we will have to give up attempts to directly pay the bitcoins for any goods and services, because this is a direct road to you. Sell VTS on exchanges for rubles (dollars, euros), display on a card and already order what you want.
- Use mixers
If some address is supposedly lit up – transfer money from it to anonymous by means of a mixer. Special services accept several transactions from different users, and then distribute bitcoins to new addresses, so you can not calculate the connections.
Only mixer choose good, and take action yourself. Sly guys from Chainanalysis and other similar offices came up with something against the mixers. So, the number of inputs and outputs should be different (if you sent 1.5 BTU from one address, and then received them on the other, guessing the identity of the owner is easy), and the service itself must perform transfers with a time delay (if they are carried out immediately – this also a source of leakage).
«Finally, do not use the same address twice, especially since new ones are available to you, in any quantities and for free»
In general, bitcoin itself does not guarantee anonymity, the secrecy of your data depends on the efforts made. Taking proper measures, any attempts to calculate you can be very, very complicated. Of course, the process of using crypto-currency is also becoming more complicated, some services will become unavailable and undesirable, but in any case one has to sacrifice something.
If anonymity is an absolute and priority requirement, it is worth considering the use of other digital currencies, specially designed to provide it, the benefit here is wide – Dash, Monero, Zcash and a dozen others.