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Author Topic: Tracking tainted coins - Wikileaks Donations ?  (Read 1766 times)
bitlane
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March 06, 2012, 05:40:54 PM
 #1

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1HB5XMLmzFVj8ALj6mfBsbifRoD4miY36v

I have no idea how to, so perhaps someone with some actual knowledge might be able to look into this and see if or how many of the recently 'tainted' BTC have made their way into the Wikileaks donations wallet.

Just a thought, as I was checking out Wikileaks as I usually do once a week or so and the BTC Donation option reminded me of the recent thefts...lol

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March 06, 2012, 05:57:38 PM
 #2

http://blockexplorer.com/address/1HB5XMLmzFVj8ALj6mfBsbifRoD4miY36v

I have no idea how to, so perhaps someone with some actual knowledge might be able to look into this and see if or how many of the recently 'tainted' BTC have made their way into the Wikileaks donations wallet.

Just a thought, as I was checking out Wikileaks as I usually do once a week or so and the BTC Donation option reminded me of the recent thefts...lol


When I first embraced BTC, one of the main reasons was because no person or group could deny the sending of coins to any other person or group.  Now with this idea of 'tainted coins' Im not so sure  Embarrassed
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March 06, 2012, 06:37:14 PM
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They can't deny sending them. The problem occurs when you exchange from bitcoin to another currency.
When the bicoin economy becomes large enough this is a non issue.

As others have explained nobody can prove if you knew your coins were "tainted" or not.
Exchanges trying to act as policemen helps nobody and undermines bitcoin as a whole.
If one exchange breaks the agreed upon principles and acts stupidly then use another.
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March 06, 2012, 07:22:31 PM
 #4

Long term, all wallets will have an average amount of tainted coins in them, and it will mean that "tainted" is a meaningless term.

Exchanges are private property - so if they want to act as policeman of the funds that go in or out of them, that's their right to do so. This is probably something best handled on a case by case basis. If a coin goes direct from a thief to Gox, maybe they should look into it. If a coin has passed through multiple parties without a high burden of proof that all of those parties were complicit in the crime, then it's almost certainly best to let coins be coins.

The fact is that Bitcoins move around the world even more easily than cash. All 21 million will be tainted some day - just as every road has had a murderer drive on it, every restaurant has served a rapist his dinner, and ever dollar bill has seen it's share of blow Wink
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March 06, 2012, 08:05:55 PM
 #5

"tainted" is a meaningless term.


Agreed.

I am speechless - how can intelligent people not understand this simple concept? Bitcoins don't commit crimes, people do.

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March 06, 2012, 08:12:29 PM
 #6

"tainted" is a meaningless term.


I am speechless - how can anyone with an IQ bigger than their shoe size not understand this simple concept?

Is this forum overrun with toddlers? Or people with an agenda?


Check out this thread to understand why "tainting" schemes can all be circumvented by criminals, and will primarily only hurt legitimate naive users (particularly vendors oblivious to centralized "taint lists").

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=67383.0
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March 06, 2012, 08:16:00 PM
 #7

I think you misunderstood me. Edited my earlier post.

"Tainting" coins is a great way to kill bitcoin dead.
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March 06, 2012, 08:41:46 PM
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I think you misunderstood me. Edited my earlier post.

"Tainting" coins is a great way to kill bitcoin dead.

Yep.  Misunderstanding: we are on the same page.
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March 06, 2012, 09:00:11 PM
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it doesn't matter what you think of the issue.
people checking if coins are tainted are not to blame: the system will evolve in a deterministic way and if tainted coins become a problem, the protocol will just have to be changed and improved.
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March 06, 2012, 09:50:56 PM
 #10

It would not be hard for a thief to taint a huge number of wallets by sending small amounts (random) of tainted coins to addresses that are public.   Even if they sent just .01 BTC to every address in this forum it would make tracking tainted coins very difficult because you would have a huge number of false positives and innocent people with these coins.

Alternatively they could order products on the web using BTC sent to the physical addresses of known bitcoin users.  Basically the data "taint trackers" would be using could contain only invalid data.  I do see the point in trying to catch obviously bad moves by the thiefs but I find it unlikely that the effort will pay off.

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March 06, 2012, 10:20:49 PM
 #11

we wont get around accepting tainted coins.

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March 07, 2012, 12:16:58 AM
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It would not be hard for a thief to taint a huge number of wallets by sending small amounts (random) of tainted coins to addresses that are public.   Even if they sent just .01 BTC to every address in this forum it would make tracking tainted coins very difficult because you would have a huge number of false positives and innocent people with these coins.

Dibs.
I shall call it "Wallet AIDS"



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March 07, 2012, 01:39:12 AM
 #13

Again, wallets don't get tainted, transaction inputs do. When you send coins, the protocol allows you to specify precisely how many coins and from which inputs. The client generally handles this automatically, but it really should not be hard to implement a feature in which you isolate certain inputs (i.e. ones the user feels are tainted) and either don't use those coins at all or only use those coins (to return to sender, the original owner, or wherever.) Fine grained control over your own money. The end of Bitcoin according to some.  Roll Eyes

Edit: And besides you should be using a hot wallet and an offline wallet anyway, for security.  Eto's Armory client makes this exceptionally easy  Wink
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March 07, 2012, 03:16:01 AM
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Again, wallets don't get tainted, transaction inputs do. When you send coins, the protocol allows you to specify precisely how many coins and from which inputs. The client generally handles this automatically, but it really should not be hard to implement a feature in which you isolate certain inputs (i.e. ones the user feels are tainted) and either don't use those coins at all or only use those coins (to return to sender, the original owner, or wherever.) Fine grained control over your own money. The end of Bitcoin according to some.  Roll Eyes

What you are saying is possible, but since it is not reality for the program that exists on 99% of the users computers.....

The wallet would be tainted just as I said.  The user would not know when the tainted coins would go out in a payment. 

Sure, they could manually go into the wallet.dat and delete the tainted key, but the average user is simply not going to do that. 

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March 07, 2012, 08:26:41 AM
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Again, wallets don't get tainted, transaction inputs do. When you send coins, the protocol allows you to specify precisely how many coins and from which inputs. The client generally handles this automatically, but it really should not be hard to implement a feature in which you isolate certain inputs (i.e. ones the user feels are tainted) and either don't use those coins at all or only use those coins (to return to sender, the original owner, or wherever.) Fine grained control over your own money. The end of Bitcoin according to some.  Roll Eyes

Edit: And besides you should be using a hot wallet and an offline wallet anyway, for security.  Eto's Armory client makes this exceptionally easy  Wink

This could work, but I think the implementational challenges are likely insurmountable.  Getting the network effect of the majority of Bitcoin users all adopting the same (centralized) "taint list" seems immensely difficult. 

Look at the whole p2sh controversy at the beginning of the year which is still not resolved.

Until the protocol you suggest is almost universally adopted, many people will be unaware of which coins are tainted.  If 10% of the bitcoins people are holding  become worthless, it would be as destructive to Bitcoin as splitting the blockchain. 

I guess what I am trying to say is: if you can actually drum up the support needed to get everyone convinced of this plan, great work.  But until there is some sort of consensus, so many innocent naive users will be hurt that a "taint" system will be more destructive to Bitcoin than the thefts are.
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March 07, 2012, 10:06:40 AM
 #16

Instead of introducing notions like "tainted coins" maybe bitcoin users should consider protecting their coins better. If exchangers will impose restrictions in trading bitcoins that will be the end of the bitcoin currency.

Increase your Dropbox account storage
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=68059.0
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March 07, 2012, 06:36:11 PM
 #17

Again, wallets don't get tainted, transaction inputs do. When you send coins, the protocol allows you to specify precisely how many coins and from which inputs. The client generally handles this automatically, but it really should not be hard to implement a feature in which you isolate certain inputs (i.e. ones the user feels are tainted) and either don't use those coins at all or only use those coins (to return to sender, the original owner, or wherever.) Fine grained control over your own money. The end of Bitcoin according to some.  Roll Eyes

Edit: And besides you should be using a hot wallet and an offline wallet anyway, for security.  Eto's Armory client makes this exceptionally easy  Wink


Using clients that can do that is exactly what we should not be doing. So, creating the feature would actually contribute to bitcoin becoming less equal and making the problem worse if it came to be used by many.

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March 08, 2012, 02:48:04 AM
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Again, wallets don't get tainted, transaction inputs do. When you send coins, the protocol allows you to specify precisely how many coins and from which inputs. The client generally handles this automatically, but it really should not be hard to implement a feature in which you isolate certain inputs (i.e. ones the user feels are tainted) and either don't use those coins at all or only use those coins (to return to sender, the original owner, or wherever.) Fine grained control over your own money. The end of Bitcoin according to some.  Roll Eyes

Edit: And besides you should be using a hot wallet and an offline wallet anyway, for security.  Eto's Armory client makes this exceptionally easy  Wink

This could work, but I think the implementational challenges are likely insurmountable.  Getting the network effect of the majority of Bitcoin users all adopting the same (centralized) "taint list" seems immensely difficult. 

Look at the whole p2sh controversy at the beginning of the year which is still not resolved.

Until the protocol you suggest is almost universally adopted, many people will be unaware of which coins are tainted.  If 10% of the bitcoins people are holding  become worthless, it would be as destructive to Bitcoin as splitting the blockchain. 

I guess what I am trying to say is: if you can actually drum up the support needed to get everyone convinced of this plan, great work.  But until there is some sort of consensus, so many innocent naive users will be hurt that a "taint" system will be more destructive to Bitcoin than the thefts are.

P2sh is a perfect example of what the 'community' is capable of. Fortunately one does not need to start with >50% to make this happen. Start small and then there will be a snowball effect. Although if Gox fully implements it, it will be more like an avalanche. Hmmm, I wonder if they might not want to help fund the development for the first taint capable client.

I imagine there will be a niche market for services to provide reasonably accurate data regarding thefts and transactions. The ones doing a good job will largely agree with each other, and the market will take care of those that are inacccurate/unreliable. I also imagine that there will be some kind of feedback loop for those who can prove certain coins are wrongly tainted. I have no intention of running such a service, so that's just a rough sketch. The market can figure out the details Wink

I doubt all of the stolen coins add up to 10%, and even if they did they are not all circulating. But let's say that is 10%. Tainting them makes the rest of everyone else's coins that much more valuable. There will be some upheavals in the marketplace as things get sorted, but once the dust settles we will be left with the only currency in the world that has completely taken the profit motive out of theft. And that will bring far more widespread adoption than making byzantine security solutions that are difficult to impossible for normal users to implement.

Curious thought I just had: what if only thefts going forward were tainted? Amnesty if you will.


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March 08, 2012, 08:37:29 AM
 #19


Send all your tainted coins to me ....  Roll Eyes

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