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Author Topic: Swapping Wallets for Increased Anonymity  (Read 1789 times)
Bunghole
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June 29, 2011, 10:20:41 PM
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For those who understand Bitcoin better than me: does it increase the anonymity of my coins if I swap wallets with someone?

For example, let's say I have a wallet.dat "containing" 50 BTC and so does a trusted member of this forum.  If we exchange wallet files, does that improve the anonymity of my coins?

Of course, once we receive each other's wallets, it would be wise to send the coins into a fresh wallet, preferably one created on an air-gapped PC or in a LiveCD.
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wolftaur
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June 29, 2011, 10:25:20 PM
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For those who understand Bitcoin better than me: does it increase the anonymity of my coins if I swap wallets with someone?

For example, let's say I have a wallet.dat "containing" 50 BTC and so does a trusted member of this forum.  If we exchange wallet files, does that improve the anonymity of my coins?

Of course, once we receive each other's wallets, it would be wise to send the coins into a fresh wallet, preferably one created on an air-gapped PC or in a LiveCD.

It does impinge on traceability. I actually do this with grocery stores to fuck with their data mining -- I don't have one of those discount cards for any of the local places I shop at. I do, however, have several friends' phone numbers memorized, and I use those to identify "myself" for the discounts. My friends are aware of this, and find it hilarious. Especially the non-smokers who now get ads for tobacco in their mailboxes. Smiley

"MOOOOOOOM! SOME MYTHICAL WOLFBEAST GUY IS MAKING FUN OF ME ON THE INTERNET!!!!"
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June 29, 2011, 10:54:00 PM
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It does impinge on traceability. I actually do this with grocery stores to fuck with their data mining -- I don't have one of those discount cards for any of the local places I shop at. I do, however, have several friends' phone numbers memorized, and I use those to identify "myself" for the discounts. My friends are aware of this, and find it hilarious. Especially the non-smokers who now get ads for tobacco in their mailboxes. Smiley
That actually works out to their advantage, depending on the grocery store chain.  My local chain Kroger/Frys has deals with Shell gas stations such that if you buy $XX worth of groceries, you get $.10 off per gallon of gas you buy.

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June 29, 2011, 10:55:35 PM
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You don't get better anonymity than simply transferring your coins to another wallet. If the government is able to trace that your coins were spent by your friend, you can be sure they can also beat your identity out of him.

What you need is a laundry service that operates anonymously, and connects random people of the Internet.
wolftaur
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June 29, 2011, 11:00:33 PM
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It does impinge on traceability. I actually do this with grocery stores to fuck with their data mining -- I don't have one of those discount cards for any of the local places I shop at. I do, however, have several friends' phone numbers memorized, and I use those to identify "myself" for the discounts. My friends are aware of this, and find it hilarious. Especially the non-smokers who now get ads for tobacco in their mailboxes. Smiley
That actually works out to their advantage, depending on the grocery store chain.  My local chain Kroger/Frys has deals with Shell gas stations such that if you buy $XX worth of groceries, you get $.10 off per gallon of gas you buy.

That's one of the biggest reasons all my friends don't mind when I do it. Smiley I can't drive because of a vision defect, but I keep getting them discounts on their gas because the store thinks they're paying for my groceries.

"MOOOOOOOM! SOME MYTHICAL WOLFBEAST GUY IS MAKING FUN OF ME ON THE INTERNET!!!!"
Bunghole
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June 29, 2011, 11:01:56 PM
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If the government is able to trace that your coins were spent by your friend, you can be sure they can also beat your identity out of him.

It seems like it would at least put up another barrier in the chain of evidence.  Also, if the trade is done on this forum (i.e. not by meatspace friends), then identity would be pretty hard to determine.

And the swap only requires trust in one direction.  If I trust Member A on this forum but A doesn't really know me, I could simply send him my wallet first.  Once he's moved the coins into a fresh wallet, he would send me his original wallet.  From A's perspective, there's nothing to lose.
MrJoshua
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June 29, 2011, 11:40:46 PM
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Remember people, you should assume that anyone who has ever had access to a wallet will always have access to that wallet.  No one ever gives you their wallet, you must assume they gave you a copy of their wallet.  They will have as much access to the money in that wallet as you do FOREVER.

This is why people saying stuff like "my client just sent ?? btc to this address..." is silly. Or any idea related to exposing or exchanging wallet files.  The client software on their machine almost certainly had nothing to do with it.  Anyone who acquired a copy of that wallet at any time in the past can simply spend the bitcoins from it whenever they like from the comfort of their own machine whenever they feel like it.

NEVER GIVE ANYONE ACCESS TO YOUR WALLET FILE.
NEVER ASSUME A WALLET FILE GIVEN TO YOU HAS NO OTHER COPIES.

If you suspect that you have a wallet file that anyone has ever in the entire history of bitcoin had access to then immediately generate a new wallet as securely as you can and send the contents of the compromised wallet to the new address.

The whole point of bitcoin is to transfer assets securely.  Coming up with ways to bypass that is not in your interest.

j

The value of bitcoins is not a theory, predictions of it's failure are what is theoretical.
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June 30, 2011, 04:00:05 PM
 #8

Consider carefully to whom you would give the keys to your safe. With thousands of dollars in cash in it. Only such people, if any (and not all of them) should have access to your Bitcoin wallet. The list might include your spouse, your attorney, and so on. But it should not include "your friend".

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