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Author Topic: Will Bitcoin mixers be considered illegal by worldwide governments?  (Read 1526 times)
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August 08, 2019, 11:18:59 PM
Merited by vapourminer (1)
 #1

Bitcoin mixers have a long history since they came into inception some time ago. They've been a viable alternative for people looking towards privacy within their Bitcoin transactions. While Bitcoin mixers are far from being perfect, they're still one of the best solutions for obfuscating transactions from third parties. The only concern would be that mixing services are centralized as they're provided by a middleman. In effect, this brings a single point of failure greatly defeating the purpose of privacy.

We've seen how Bestmixer got shut down by the authorities. They claim that Bestmixer encouraged money laundering activities which resulted in legal action. The truth is that Bitcoin mixers can be used for both good and bad things. Money laundering is mostly done with Fiat than with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Still though, the perception of worldwide governments against mixers/tumblers seems to be different nowadays. Which makes me wonder whenever Bitcoin mixers will be considered illegal by such entities within the future?

If governments ban mixers/tumblers, then they could easily do the same to privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like Monero and Grin. It's all a matter of power and control over people than anything else. What do you think about this? Huh

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August 09, 2019, 12:18:14 AM
 #2

I can imagine many governments regulating them the same as exchanges, forcing them to do KYC/AML and what not. They can then prosecute the operators in their countries that don't comply, exactly like exchanges.

Banning coins they can try, but hardly succeed. This time its a decentralized service which is not easy to shutdown. Centralized services like exchanges and mixers could be attacked. Well, unless there is some decentralized mixer out there, which should be possible to do (and easier than the Bisq DEX).

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August 09, 2019, 12:56:07 AM
 #3

Its happening, this is the beginning of shutting down Bitcoin mixers. This kind of technology is really good for anonymity, but the government think it is being used in illegal activities which we can't know if its real or not. Many mixers are being shut down recently this year, but the good thing is that most of the old mixer are still with us, and maybe they need to be more transparent with the government regulations.

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August 09, 2019, 01:29:11 AM
 #4

I'm certain they will do it in the near future. Or, they could also require a mixer to have some sort of backdoor which they can use, or governments could just decrypt the transaction itself, or they probably run a mixer by themselves and promote it like crazy so that most users use that.

If anyone can do that, it's probably the governments who are taking this issue seriously.

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August 09, 2019, 02:52:52 AM
 #5

I have just read a very timely article about how Binance hackers tried to launder a total of 4,836 BTC using Chipmixer.  (https://www.bitcoininsider.org/article/73259/binance-hackers-bombard-chipmixer-launder-least-4836-btc)

There have been similar cases in the past whereby a tumbler is the best option for the criminal's footprints to arrive at a dead end. If this will become the pattern and tumblers simply become a notorious haven for criminals to get away from the government agencies tracking down on their crimes, I bet the government will have to also bring down all these tumblers. But I doubt if it will end this kind of service. Perhaps the best option for these tumblers is to go underground. There will always be patrons for this. 

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August 09, 2019, 02:54:14 AM
 #6

yes, there is a good chance for it as bitcoin gains more popularity and the mixers are used more. but the bigger concern that we should have is if the government agencies start running their own mixers in disguise and become popular!

If governments ban mixers/tumblers, then they could easily do the same to privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like Monero and Grin. It's all a matter of power and control over people than anything else. What do you think about this? Huh
there is a big difference between shutting down a centralized company that has a physical (singular) place to shut down and a handful of people (the owners of the company) to arrest or put pressure on.
and a decentralized cryptocurrency that relies on its peers that are spread around the world!

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August 09, 2019, 03:27:27 AM
 #7

I can imagine many governments regulating them the same as exchanges, forcing them to do KYC/AML and what not. They can then prosecute the operators in their countries that don't comply, exactly like exchanges.

Banning coins they can try, but hardly succeed. This time its a decentralized service which is not easy to shutdown. Centralized services like exchanges and mixers could be attacked. Well, unless there is some decentralized mixer out there, which should be possible to do (and easier than the Bisq DEX).

The authorities can try to enforce KYC for the mixers, but I don't think that anyone will comply with the orders. The basic purpose of a mixer is to provide added anonymity for its clientele. The mandatory requirement of KYC contradicts this very purpose and therefore I don't think that anyone in their right mind would expect the mxers to comply. The government authorities are still enforcing KYC in the exchanges now. Once the exchanges are covered, then the next target will be the online wallets (such as Blockchain.com). There are some indications about this. But I don't know how successful that would be, since a majority of the users would just install desktop wallets or lite wallets, and stop using these online wallets. For old time Bitcoin users like me, anonymity is very important and that was one of the primary reasons why I got attracted to the idea of cryptocurrency. The authorities can try their best to harass the users, but we'll always be one step ahead of them.
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August 09, 2019, 03:48:44 AM
 #8

If we take for example bitcointalk.org actually here no one knows about anyone , we already are here but we can change out name country whatever and they don't even need the KYC , just a simple e-mail.
We should understand that mixers which are or can be a hub for the illegal activities , which can cause increase in the crime rates naturally needs to be shut down .
But we can always make a sub topic here to include mixers for you guys , we do have offtopics too .
Instead of bringing out new apps maybe we can integrate the same things in the old ones .



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August 09, 2019, 07:03:07 AM
 #9

Bitcoin mixer is prone to illegal activities and probably used by the hackers to tumble their bitcoin and transfer on their own bitcoin address. It can be used to disguise and make it difficult to prove where bitcoins came from. Recently, bitcoin mixer company has decided to stop because they know that it is illegal by their country and might used by terrorism attempt. The sad truth is from time to time let us just accept and face the fact that Bitcoin service related will become regulated.

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August 09, 2019, 07:10:30 AM
 #10

I don't think that mixers will become illegal but their services might be regulated in a way that governments will set rules what is illegal or not especialy in the domain of money laundering.

I disagree. Politicians don't go into subtle details like not all money in the mixers is from illegal sources. And they also don't want to allow too much privacy either.
Monero already shows this. Although obviously a big percent of Monero users / holders use it simply for their own privacy, the Japanese (iirc) exchanges don't list it because they cannot check the money laundering, because Monero favors money laundering.
I expect Bitcoin mixers follow the same path: slowly getting banned / decided they're illegal.


I know, they should ban paper money for the same reason, still they don't. This is how silly the politics are.

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August 09, 2019, 07:19:58 AM
 #11

They are going to have a hard time shutting them down, when they are hosted in a country with their own laws and regulations and complete sovereignty. Why do you think some illegal gambling operations are functioning from small islands in the Pacific?

Also, Mixer services will just adapt to the threat, by going decentralized or falling back onto creating more anonymous Alt coins that are already decentralized. So you are looking at a complex game of cat and mouse and the mouse has 1000's of little off-spring that would leave the nest, if the cat comes to close.  Wink

Remember, Cash is also anonymous in a way... so having a service giving you the same level of anonymity would not be deemed illegal in many counties. <You have a right to protect your financial interest>

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August 09, 2019, 07:30:41 AM
 #12

They are going to have a hard time shutting them down, when they are hosted in a country with their own laws and regulations and complete sovereignty. Why do you think some illegal gambling operations are functioning from small islands in the Pacific?

Also, Mixer services will just adapt to the threat, by going decentralized or falling back onto creating more anonymous Alt coins that are already decentralized. So you are looking at a complex game of cat and mouse and the mouse has 1000's of little off-spring that would leave the nest, if the cat comes to close.  Wink

Remember, Cash is also anonymous in a way... so having a service giving you the same level of anonymity would not be deemed illegal in many counties. <You have a right to protect your financial interest>

Unfortunately there's a simple choice against that.

In the same way some wallets already have in their ToS (and checking!) that you don't use the coins for gambling, the reputed exchanges can add into their ToS that they don't accept Bitcoins coming from those mixers. Some will be able to go around that, but for average Joe it will be a deal breaker.

And again, average Joe will need a reputed exchange in order to get fiat from his Bitcoins if he wants to spend at the grocery store.


The chain may be broken when most merchants will accept Bitcoin. Then indeed, nothing can be done anymore. But isn't this maybe one of the things that makes Bitcoin acceptance at merchants increase this slow? (Of course, I sometimes tend to be concerned by things that are not a problem, and this may be such a case).

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August 09, 2019, 08:19:03 AM
 #13

We've seen how Bestmixer got shut down by the authorities. They claim that Bestmixer encouraged money laundering activities which resulted in legal action.

This claim is substantiated by Bestmixer's page where it lists reasons why people should be using mixers in the first place. They basically advertised their service as a way to evade KYC and AML procedures with crypto, and the authorities justified their attack based on that fact.

Mixers are otherwise perfectly legal (which was acknowledged by a blog of McAfee, a firm instrumental in the takedown) and I don't see that changing in the near future. Lawmakers don't ever talk about mixers and I would be surprised if majority of them knew mixers even existed. I could see mixers getting on their crosshairs if a single provider gets big and popular enough, but the service itself is so niche that even the most well known ones remain obscure to the general public.

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August 09, 2019, 09:59:40 PM
 #14

Governments prefer to regulate the companies that are responsible for changing bitcoin into fiat. Most won't bother with bitcoin mixers when bitcoin isn't used to pay for goods. Yes you can buy stuff online with it but when that happens bitcoin is exchanged by someone somewhere and that person or company is responsible for checking you.

Mixers don't allow you to launder money because bitcoin is not money. Not yet at least. Mixers only make it harder for exchanges to trace the origin but they can not accept your mixed coins if they want to. It's more probable that they will do it in fear of government shutting them down.

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August 09, 2019, 10:23:44 PM
Merited by vapourminer (1)
 #15

I can imagine many governments regulating them the same as exchanges, forcing them to do KYC/AML and what not. They can then prosecute the operators in their countries that don't comply, exactly like exchanges.

Banning coins they can try, but hardly succeed. This time its a decentralized service which is not easy to shutdown. Centralized services like exchanges and mixers could be attacked. Well, unless there is some decentralized mixer out there, which should be possible to do (and easier than the Bisq DEX).

The authorities can try to enforce KYC for the mixers, but I don't think that anyone will comply with the orders. The basic purpose of a mixer is to provide added anonymity for its clientele. The mandatory requirement of KYC contradicts this very purpose and therefore I don't think that anyone in their right mind would expect the mxers to comply. The government authorities are still enforcing KYC in the exchanges now. Once the exchanges are covered, then the next target will be the online wallets (such as Blockchain.com). There are some indications about this. But I don't know how successful that would be, since a majority of the users would just install desktop wallets or lite wallets, and stop using these online wallets. For old time Bitcoin users like me, anonymity is very important and that was one of the primary reasons why I got attracted to the idea of cryptocurrency. The authorities can try their best to harass the users, but we'll always be one step ahead of them.

Old time Bitcoin users could just mine their coins, but as time passes this is less and less the case (as designed). More and more people will enter Bitcoin by buying them with their fiat, leaving a whole trace back to the source of said fiat. Also, as time passes, more and more bitcoins are getting re-used again, and there will be people stealing them, and trying to wash them. Victims of bitcoin theft have nowhere to go beyond their local authorities, but this is outside Bitcoin's realm. There is also the issue of money coming from activities illegal in country a but legal in country b. Then what?

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August 10, 2019, 12:28:13 AM
 #16

If governments ban mixers/tumblers, then they could easily do the same to privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like Monero and Grin. It's all a matter of power and control over people than anything else. What do you think about this? Huh

I expect exchanges will be told to drop privacy coins as the price of doing business. That's already happening in Japan and South Korea.

As for mixers, any law enforcement agency determined enough could probably pin countless dodgy monies going through mixers so if the will was there all of them will get nailed if they can be found.

It's possible in future there may be sanitised mixing services created purely to break the link between old addresses for gamblers in the right jurisdiction and people who simply don't want all their transactions to be linked.

The future of mixers open to all may not be a long lasting one. Even if they continue to operate with impunity it's possible third party services will reject coins that are identified as coming from them.

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August 10, 2019, 12:44:01 AM
 #17

I can imagine many governments regulating them the same as exchanges, forcing them to do KYC/AML and what not. They can then prosecute the operators in their countries that don't comply, exactly like exchanges.

Banning coins they can try, but hardly succeed. This time its a decentralized service which is not easy to shutdown. Centralized services like exchanges and mixers could be attacked. Well, unless there is some decentralized mixer out there, which should be possible to do (and easier than the Bisq DEX).

Without a doubt, governments will try their best in order to stop people from using privacy services at all costs. They've successfully shut down Bestmixer because it was a centralized service. Imagine what they could do with the rest of Bitcoin mixers available today. That's why, it's best for these services to remain in the most decentralized way possible in order to prevent third-parties from taking any action against them. Luckily, we have non-custodial wallets for Bitcoin that use CoinJoin anonymization techniques like Wasabi and Samourai. On the other hand, we have a decentralized mixing service called "CoinShuffle" available exclusively for Bitcoin Cash.

Which is why, the more decentralized mixing services appear, the better for the people. I believe that it's time for individuals to take back their privacy via the use of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and various anonymization techniques available today. With this, governments won't be able to stop every privacy service, effectively eliminating the middleman as Satoshi originally intended. I believe that current centralized mixing services will have a hard time with worldwide governments as they impose KYC/AML regulations. Even instant exchanges like Shapeshift, turned out to require KYC after so much pressure from the government.

Nonetheless, governments may consider mixing services illegal, but those which are decentralized will truly prevail in the long run. People will always look for alternative ways to get access to this, especially when it comes to their privacy among Bitcoin transactions. In the end, governments will recognize that their efforts will be in vain, greatly joining the decentralized crypto revolution in the long run. Just my thoughts Grin

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August 10, 2019, 04:23:45 AM
 #18

Well, it doesn't make sense to go after online mixers and anonymous coins while fiats are easily be used as a privacy currencies.
Mixer/privacy coins are very ethical as long as evil exists.  They won't be necessary in a world that is 100% ethical.

I think the reason for such declaration of some centralized bitcoin mixers as illegal is simple, the government have always seen bitcoin as taking away the shine of fiat because of the decentralized and privacy tendencies and so, any further attempt on privacy beyond the bitcoin decentralization, will be tried to be stopped.

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August 10, 2019, 04:28:40 AM
 #19

We've already seen a mixing service getting shutdown by authorities in Europe, I think there's very high chance it will happen again. More likely, it will be a part of some global regulatory framework, they can try to forbid all services from accepting coins from mixers if there will be an easy way to tell if a coin comes from mixers or not.

But on the other hand, I think governments understand the value of privacy, usually they want to be the only one's with backdoors. In the last year there was an article how Canada advised people how to buy weed privately, because the US was taking action against people who did it even in other countries. So, regulating mixers is another option, forcing them to keep records and share them with authorities.

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August 10, 2019, 05:27:39 AM
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This is the same argument with anonymity on a thread I found yesterday, where there are 2 side to the coin. On one side, bitcoin mixers are able to provide us with a level of security and keep ourselves and our money safe, while they also provide the same option to people who do illegal and terrible.

Biggest problem though is that even though there is a small section of people that use crypto to launder their money, the most prominent and popular way of money laundering and illegal activity is still fiat currencies, so we are banning mixers for being a small part of the problem, as the governments screwing over the people using mixers for privacy reasons.

If governments ban mixers/tumblers, then they could easily do the same to privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies like Monero and Grin. It's all a matter of power and control over people than anything else. What do you think about this? Huh
That's true, and it would be even worse for crypto if privacy coins where abolished.

 
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