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Author Topic: Bitcoin not so anonymous?  (Read 645 times)
Biscutard
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December 05, 2017, 11:36:41 PM
 #21

Bitcoin is not really anonymous because it has a ledger recording all of our transactions and everyone could look up to our own bitcoin addresses but not our real information. Once they know who that person is using that address, you are doomed i guess.  Cheesy

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December 05, 2017, 11:42:35 PM
 #22

bitcoin being decentralized crypto currency  using internet connection I know reagarding to my knowledge bitcoin is anonymous currency, so becareful your bitcoin investment if you are careless have possible to lost your bitcoin especiall in your wallet if forget the private keys or password.

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December 06, 2017, 12:13:08 AM
 #23

bitcoin being decentralized crypto currency  using internet connection I know reagarding to my knowledge bitcoin is anonymous currency, so becareful your bitcoin investment if you are careless have possible to lost your bitcoin especiall in your wallet if forget the private keys or password.

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December 06, 2017, 12:48:39 AM
 #24

My guess always was that Bitcoin is anonymous as long as there wont be a link of your address to your person. As a distributed (open) ledger, all transactions are visible for everyone, so whatever one spends or receives can be seen by everyone. But if you for example always do your business from an internet cafe or other public places, nobody can link your entry in the ledger to your person. What I was always wondering about was how those mixing services work? Do they just send the transaction that you want to send to eg 10000 different addresses before sending it to the destination address? So it would be a huge amount of work to check all the addresses? I cant imagine how else they could make a transaction non trackable on Bitcoins blockchain. But this would also not be doable because of the transaction cost and speed. Maybe someone can explain it to me?
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December 06, 2017, 02:45:26 AM
 #25

The IRS has stated that recently they can track down people who are making a profit of Bitcoin without claiming it on their tax return. I wonder if the Core Engineers will start to look at ways to keep Bitcoin anonymous from prying eyes of the IRS and other Governments?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
I guess they could identify you only once you cashed out. Other than that, your identity is safe (unless you have verified your identify in an online wallet, of course); Honestly, man there are lots of ways to stay away from the eyes of the FEDies. You just have to be creative.  Grin
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December 06, 2017, 04:36:54 AM
Last edit: December 06, 2017, 05:58:45 AM by nullius
Merited by johhnyUA (1), marlboroza (1)
 #26

I guess they could identify you only once you cashed out. Other than that, your identity is safe (unless you have verified your identify in an online wallet, of course);

WRONG.  For but one of a hundred other ways your identities could be linked, even if you mix with CoinJoin, check out this pretty picture from a research paper I referenced in my earlier post on this thread:


Stop giving dangerously bad advice!

What I was always wondering about was how those mixing services work? Do they just send the transaction that you want to send to eg 10000 different addresses before sending it to the destination address? So it would be a huge amount of work to check all the addresses? I cant imagine how else they could make a transaction non trackable on Bitcoins blockchain. But this would also not be doable because of the transaction cost and speed. Maybe someone can explain it to me?

You ask some reasonable questions.  More reasonable still would be the question of how to actually protect your privacy.  That last is a difficult question.  Strong anonymity (or more properly, the transaction unlinkability required for strong privacy) requires considerable expertise; there does not currently exist any point-and-click solution which will make that happen for you.

I’ve been trying to write up a little post on the basics; but it takes time, since unlike some people here, I don’t simply toss out substance-free gab to hear myself talk.  It is a complicated topic; and I know that if I give the wrong advice, people could get hurt.  I may or may not finish what I was writing.  Meanwhile, here are some notes:

I observe in brief that I have never used a Bitcoin mixer site.  I am a privacy activist.  I have exclusively connected to the Internet through Tor for some years now—just on principle.  I’ve been intrigued by the potential of private digital currency since Chaumian Digicash was still a thing; that was a few decades ago.  And I have never used a Bitcoin mixer site.  That might suggest to you something about those Bitcoin mixers.

Some people here need to read this paragraph thrice, from the newbie-level introduction at https://bitcoin.org/en/you-need-to-know#anonymous (italics added):

Quote from: bitcoin.org
Bitcoin is not anonymous

Some effort is required to protect your privacy with Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address. However, the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances. This is one reason why Bitcoin addresses should only be used once. Always remember that it is your responsibility to adopt good practices in order to protect your privacy. Read more about protecting your privacy.

The same people should also read that “read more” link very carefully.

Observe some discussion by smart people who know what they are talking about.  (N.b. that I can’t recommend CoinJoin or Joinmarket at this time unless you know its limitations, and you really know what you are doing.  Look back to the above graphic.  The little crossover icons in the left half represent CoinJoins.)

Finally, I must quote this for the right spirit.  Privacy is not for criminals; it is to protect you from criminals:

I don't have much need for anonymity, but not having everyone from your nosy neighbors to random thieves knowing all your financial activity is both a matter of human dignity and basic safety.

There exist corrupt and oppressive governments.  There also exist robbers, stalkers, identity thieves, and kidnappers who are increasingly sophisticated in their exploitation of digital information sources.  I think it is only a matter of time before organized crime catches on in a big way to the goldmine of useful information which can be linked through blockchain tracing; perhaps they have already, and I just don’t yet know it.  All these threats can work retroactively, too.  Every transaction you commit to the blockchain is there forever.

Don’t be paranoid, but take precautions.  I use Bitcoin for whatever I want to, nobody knows how much I have, and I sleep quietly at night.  Of course, I don’t engage in criminal activity—that’s outside my threat model.  I just want—no, I demand privacy; and I have it, at the expense of some large effort.  It’s worthwhile!

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December 06, 2017, 08:29:22 AM
 #27

Don’t be paranoid, but take precautions.  I use Bitcoin for whatever I want to, nobody knows how much I have, and I sleep quietly at night.  Of course, I don’t engage in criminal activity—that’s outside my threat model.  I just want—no, I demand privacy; and I have it, at the expense of some large effort.  It’s worthwhile!

Thanks, I appreciate all the information and links. I've got a lot of reading ahead of me. I've always been scared of what kind of files the blockchain analysis companies already have on us. I can't for the life of me remember many of the transactions I've made with bitcoins over the years, and it's scary to think that Chainalysis knows more about them than I do! Embarrassed

When bitcoins were trading in the $200s in a seemingly neverending bear market, none of this seemed to matter. Now that we're trading above $10k: life comes at you fast....

 
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December 06, 2017, 02:00:36 PM
Merited by LoyceV (1), johhnyUA (1), boranes (1)
 #28

Don’t be paranoid, but take precautions.  I use Bitcoin for whatever I want to, nobody knows how much I have, and I sleep quietly at night.  Of course, I don’t engage in criminal activity—that’s outside my threat model.  I just want—no, I demand privacy; and I have it, at the expense of some large effort.  It’s worthwhile!

Thanks, I appreciate all the information and links. I've got a lot of reading ahead of me. I've always been scared of what kind of files the blockchain analysis companies already have on us. I can't for the life of me remember many of the transactions I've made with bitcoins over the years, and it's scary to think that Chainalysis knows more about them than I do! :-[

When bitcoins were trading in the $200s in a seemingly neverending bear market, none of this seemed to matter. Now that we're trading above $10k: life comes at you fast....

Happy to help.  I wish I had a better and easier answer at the ready.

What you say reminds me of thoughts I’ve had over who has recordings of my telephone calls, or copies of long-past (unencrypted) e-mails.  My own communications, as of which I myself have no record outside scattered memories—with those, it’s impossible to be certain of who has or doesn’t have what.  My calls to my fondly remembered old ex-girlfriend in $YEAR; who may have archival recordings of those?  I think it’s probable that some database has it all.  The situation with the blockchain is worse, since it is public and permanent; although other data which could be cross-correlated with it may be another “who recorded what when?” situation, depending on what you did and how in terms of buying, spending, etc.  At least, you also have a copy of the blockchain.

Looking a few steps further:

Do you surf the Web without Tor or similar measures?  Do you remember every website you’ve ever visited?  Do you remember every search term you have ever typed into Google?  (People tell Google secrets which they would never tell their spouses, best friends, clergy, or psychiatrists.  When they have trouble sleeping, people openly tell Google their midnight fears and fantasies.  The Google search is the closest thing to mind-reading technology yet invented.  “I’m feeling lucky.”)

Somewhere, there is definitely a record of these things; or somewheres plural, not only in government agencies.  Inasmuch as this data may oft be in the hands of private companies such as Google or your ISP, it is used for “marketing” purposes.  You are eyeballs and a piece of meat.

In a similar vein, do you carry a mobile phone?  (I ask this rhetorically; I would not suggest that you answer such questions on a public forum!)  If you do, then somewhere, there is a database which knows precisely where you were physically located on, say, the date of 2010-03-09 at 10:04 in the morning.  Do you know exactly where you were on 2010-03-09 at 10:04 in the morning?  Somebody does—well, a computer somewhere does.  If you were to ever become interesting (in the sense of a “person of interest”), then a wetware analyst could look back at that years or decades later, and correlate it with other available information.  That includes, but is not limited to, the calls and texts you made with that phone (metadata and/or content).  It also includes the locations and communications of persons carrying phones around you.  Do you remember who was near you and whom you associated with on 2010-03-09 at 10:04 in the morning?  Somewhere, there is a database which remembers that.

Such is the meaning of dragnet mass surveillance.  It is the total destruction of even the most basic dignity.  It respects nothing sacred, leaves no part of you untouched and inviolate, admits no freedom.  It fears no gods, but deifies itself with omniscience and omnipotence.  It is an invisible collar around your neck, from your cradle to your grave.  “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.”  No!  Because I do nothing wrong, I have nothing to show.  I am a man, not a worm; therefore, my life is none of your business.

My location on 2010-03-09 at 10:04 in the morning, and my activities, communications, relationships, “social graph”, finances, reading habits, and innermost thoughts, are all none of your business.

Let these thoughts sink into your gut, and you will begin to understand why I care about privacy.  Most people don’t get it.  Encrypted e-mail, anonymized Internet, cash at the store, and antipathy for GoogFaceTwit?  People will look at you funny, at best (and thus the first rule of privacy: be discreet about privacy).  But once you start to think the full history of your blockchain transactions, your credit cards, your bank accounts, your phone calls, your locational information, your e-mails, your web surfing, your web searches, etc., etc.—well, then privacy begins to make sense.  It even makes sense to expend effort and endure inconvenience, to obtain privacy.  Actually, when you begin to understand these matters, you realize that the lack of privacy is outright insane.

Thanks for thinking about these issues.  Everybody who cares about privacy can make the world a tiny bit of a better place.  And good luck with securing your Bitcoin privacy.  Bitcoin has great promise as a force for freedom, which necessarily encompasses privacy; but thus far, its tools are as yet imperfect, and the privacy part is very difficult to get right.  At least, you certainly have more control of your own destiny with Bitcoin than you do with banks and credit cards.  Consider how your ownership of your private keys means nobody can help you if you lose them.  Here likewise, Bitcoin gives you the power over yourself, and thus the responsibility for yourself—two sides of the same coin!

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December 06, 2017, 02:27:55 PM
 #29

Those are some pretty detailed posts about bitcoin privacy and privacy in general
It is clear that we have become accustomed to the fact that when we browse something an analytics program would record that, when we visit a place, google maps would record it, when we wish someone dear, an e-mail messenger will record it.

We have failed to realize that we could as easily have access to all these things without it being recorded and turned into data to be mined. We have accepted it as a fact of life and frankly, its ramifications are absurd and long lasting.

Will privacy ever become a standard
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December 06, 2017, 02:32:16 PM
 #30

The IRS has stated that recently they can track down people who are making a profit of Bitcoin without claiming it on their tax return. I wonder if the Core Engineers will start to look at ways to keep Bitcoin anonymous from prying eyes of the IRS and other Governments?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,

BTC has never been anonymous. Anyone thinking they can hide from the IRS is in for a rude awakening.  Unless you live off the grid and do not have any tangible property you cannot hide for long. It's not worth the hassle.

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December 22, 2017, 11:41:16 PM
 #31

Bitcoin was never anonymous.  Anybody who said it is, was stupid or lying.  Anybody who thought it is, may be in for a rude shock with unknown timing.  The notion that “Bitcoin is anonymous” is a persistent, pernicious myth.  It’s a global ledger, wherein each copy of the blockchain shows in full all transactions ever made.  What is so hard to understand about this?

I wonder if the Core Engineers will start to look at ways to keep Bitcoin anonymous

They have been, for awhile.  But things develop slowly in Bitcoin.  They can’t just smack on a new feature, at risk of accidentally dropping a billion dollars worth of coins on the floor.
It is not hard but most people do not want to take the time to read about the myths of bitcoin, of all the myths that is probably one of most long lasting and in my opinion is one of the most damaging since people think they can get away with anything because they think they are anonymous.
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December 23, 2017, 01:48:35 AM
 #32

 Well, it does not have to be if we join in the Playcoal or Forum we do not need to hide the identity too much, but if we want it it does not matter, because Bitcoin is a currency intended for long-distance people with their families so if Bitcoin is too anonymous we find it difficult to trace the shipment that we or our friends are doing or if we have made a withdrawal and through the Bank, it is certain we use the original identity we have
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December 23, 2017, 01:54:53 AM
 #33

Bitcoin is of course anonymous, but the IRS thinks bitcoin has a lot of profit, so they must be trying to levy a tax. It's as if your neighbor suddenly became rich. Then you will have an idea. What way does my neighbor make so much money? I have no way to make money.
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December 23, 2017, 02:54:38 AM
 #34

With the methods of analysing big data - no matter how you mix bitcoin, once it touches the ground, you'll be found out.
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December 23, 2017, 03:06:35 AM
 #35

But bitcoin transaction is recorded, it will help the law enforcement to track the illegal activity which using bitcoin as medium of exchange. Bitcoin just protect the identity of the users but very transparent in transaction.

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December 23, 2017, 03:11:36 AM
 #36

Bitcoin is transparent. the record on blockchain can be seen and checked by anyone.
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December 23, 2017, 03:15:04 AM
 #37

IRS can cracked down tax evaders using the exchanges information like coinbase for example, creating an account at coinbase you need to verify yourself before you can do any transaction this is one way for IRS to track you down, as long as you give your personal information to a 3rd party law enforcers can find you.
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December 23, 2017, 06:22:38 AM
 #38

I think bitcoin is very anonymous, but the government is always looking for ways to track transactions of bitcoin users, but to this day there is still no effective way to track these transactions. it is possible that in the future the government can solve the anonymous bitcoin problem

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December 23, 2017, 09:19:41 AM
 #39

Bitcoin not so anonymous but most anonymous payment tool. you can send it without Id.

when use strong vpn and VPS will be anonymous and No one can track you
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December 23, 2017, 09:34:54 AM
 #40

Not anonymous but much more plausibly deniable than most modern forms of payment.   Bitcoin plus a good attorney or two is all you need.   

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