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Bitcoin Is Not Anonymous 279

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from University College Dublin have conducted an analysis of anonymity on Bitcoin, and found it is not inherently anonymous, and that in many cases, users and their transactions can be identified. They use techniques such as context discovery and flow analysis to investigate and visualize an alleged theft of Bitcoins, which, at the time of the theft, had a market value of approximately half a million U.S. dollars."
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Bitcoin Is Not Anonymous

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:49AM (#36869544)
    Bitcoin in the new Twitter. No matter how many times you post about it, there's still only a dozen people who care.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:56AM (#36869610)

    Please stop posting this shit.

    I know you're getting paid, but goddammit when the majority if your user base thinks it's spam, quit fucking pretending it's a story.

  • by CagedApe ( 1516545 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:58AM (#36869620)
    Anyone with half a million dollars worth of bitcoins is probably up to no good. At the very least they need to have their head examined for buying monopoly money.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:58AM (#36869628) Homepage

    I wouldn't give you jack for them. Can I pay my utility bills with them? No. Can I may my mortgage with them? No. Can I go into most shops or online stores and buy stuff with them? No.

    They're nothing more than a financial toy for people to play around with and waste energy on GPU calculations which they justify by reeling off a list of websites no one has heard of where you can buy useless crap with them.

  • Re:Scaaam.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:59AM (#36869642) Homepage

    It's much worse. It's pushing the value of time and energy over to other commodities needed to power the servers. Think coal and natural gas power generation. We simply don't have the renewables in place to offset and eventually lower the cost per kw. That will tens of years if anything. If instead it was crunching numbers for research such as Folding@Home, I can see human value in that. But to pull megawatts of power to essentially run a scam is really bad. Of course, one could say the same for the high frequency trading server infrastructure as well.

  • by derfy ( 172944 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:12AM (#36869766) Homepage Journal

    Hope more people see this comment. You can't do jack with bitcoins at the moment. Who knows, maybe in the future we can but for now:
    News for nerds? Maybe. Stuff that matters? Hell no.

  • by alex67500 ( 1609333 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:15AM (#36869786)

    Top-Posting? On Slashdot? Isn't there a special spam/fool filter removing this kind of lower people?

  • Re:Scaaam.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:16AM (#36869788)

    That energy is actually put to a good use - it provides security for the block chain against double-spending attacks, by making them computationally infeasible. And it gives pretty good value for the money: as far as costs go for a payment-processing network, it's damned cheap compared to what Visa or Paypal charges.

    Yes, early adopters come out well. That's true in any venture. But at the end of the day, that doesn't mean it won't be useful as a payment processing network. The amount that early adopters will get out of this utterly pales in comparison to what the big financial corporations are raping you for.

    If you think THIS is a scam, read up more on fractional-reserve banking. The debt-driven US dollar is the biggest ponzi scheme ever.

  • Re:Scaaam.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:35AM (#36869998) Homepage

    This is exactly how all pyramid schemes work.

    Bitcoin might as well be called amway-coin.

  • Re:Scaaam.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by m50d ( 797211 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:40AM (#36870068) Homepage Journal

    The amount that early adopters will get out of this utterly pales in comparison to what the big financial corporations are raping you for.

    Bollocks. The big financial corporations haven't taken 80% of all the wealth in existence.

  • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:43AM (#36870104)
    From the comments in TFA, as written by one of the authors:

    We don't set out to to de-anonymise the thief - we are researchers, not law enforcement, and we are just using that as an example to show its possible to trace the flow of Bitcoins around the network.

    It is possible to use Bitcoin in a way that is almost certainly anonymous, in the same way it is possible to get almost certain anonymity on the Internet, by using encryption, onion routing, and never associating your identity with your actions.

    Our point is that you don't get this anonymity automatically, and that most casual users of Bitcoin may not be anonymous, even though many of them may believe they are.

    The system looks more anonymous than it is.

    This, of course, is something we've already discussed ad nauseum here. :)

  • Re:Scaaam.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:44AM (#36870122)

    What would you have it be, then? If you gave out proportionately more BTC as the number of users grow, the inflation would be insane. So it's 500 BTC per hour, divided among everyone. Yeah, as the number of people grows, your slice becomes tiny. Now you have to earn (or exchange earned money for) bitcoins. Why is it shocking to have to earn your currency?

    Bitcoin at its core isn't about making money through mining. It's about having a currency that gets rid of a lot of the disadvantages of current paper currency and payment processing systems. The rapid growth of people participating is making it much more valuable in that regard. You only get "next to nothing" if you were looking for a free handout. For the rest of us, it's a way to actually buy goods and services. For me, the advantage is I dislike and distrust Paypal, and I very much welcome a replacement that isn't tied to yet another flimsy or greedy company.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.