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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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  • Slashdot and Bitcoin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:59AM (#36869640)

    In order to analyse whetehr Slashdot is overly preoccupied with Bitcoin, I have conducted a rigorous scientific analysis. My methodology relies on the key fact that Google knows everything. To draw on the wisdom of Google, I typed slashdot into my Google search bar. The results are revealing:

    Google suggests (in this order):
    slashdot rss
    slashdot wiki
    slashdot bitcoin

    Phrases such as "slashdot linux", "slashdot news" and "slashdot " did not appear.

    I'm still working on the conclusions.

  • I wish... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:07AM (#36869704)

    People need to learn the difference between anonymity and pseudonymity. Bitcoin is not anonymous, and neither are so many other things mistakenly labeled anonymous.

    In the context of Slashdot:

    AC == Anonymous
    handle == pseudonymous
    handle linked to meatspace identity == identified

    Pseudonymous actions are those where an arbitrary identifier (handle, public key fingerprint, assigned account number) completely replaces the meatspace identity a person has been assigned by government.

    Pseudonymous actions by a specific identifier (such as as Bitcoin key) can be linked to other actions by that identifier.

    Anonymous actions have no primary key linking together events by a person or group of persons acting in concert.

    An anonymous payment would be something like cash in the mail, so long as the envelope is devoid of any identifer, assigned or pseudo, which could connect that envelope and its contents to another action by the person who sent it.

  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:16AM (#36869794) Homepage
    The article does all sorts of graph theory visualizations about the well-known 25k BTC theft, tracking flows of Bitcoins from one address to another to prove Bitcoin is not anonymous.

    What they fail to do is identify the thief!

    Perhaps the margin of their paper was too small to include the thief's name.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @10:36AM (#36870640)

    Just on the off chance that you're not lying, what utility, mortgage lender, and shops accept Bitcoin in payment?

    All of them. Just like none of them technically will accept my payment using payroll and dividend checks with my name on them, yet I've always managed to pay my creditors anyway with a couple extra steps. I once got some cash for selling something on craigslist, and I spent that cash at the food store, and thats possibly the only time in my life I've directly received and spent money without the financial industrial complex making a commission off me.

    I can convert BTC into $ faster, easier, and with lower fees than any other currency. Not any other digital currency, but any currency... at all. I can actually convert BTC into $ with lower fees than I can convert small change into bills using that "coin-star-change" kiosk thingy at the food store. It is absolutely insane that its cheaper, faster, and easier to convert digital money into paper money dollars than convert coins into paper money.

    I recently purchased some cool ham radio microwave electronics kits/pcbs/components from a "well known" (in the business) company in Australia. I'm building a ham radio propagation beacon using some of their weirder subassemblies combined with some weird subassemblies I already own, which is why I tolerate dealing with an island on the other side of the planet instead of off the shelf from locals like DEMI or making my own stuff from mouser and minicircuits. Anyway it was a freaking nightmare to pay them thru paypal, probably intentionally done by paypal to encourage us to use ebay and make them even more fees, but after a week of agony we're both finally happy, they got my dough and I got my parts and paypal made way the heck too much money off this transaction, for what little they did. If I ever purchase from .au again, its gonna be via a friend in .au who I will pay in BTC. Paying double postage is still cheaper than paying paypal, and being a friend in the hobby he can merely add my order to his existing order(s), so it's not really double postage anyway. Even if I round up and let him keep the change, I'd rather give my money to a buddy than to paypal.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:45PM (#36877046) Homepage Journal
    Hear! Hear! There are literally millions of things in the world that I care absolutely nothing about, but would still consider purchasing at the right price in order to sell them to fools who are willing to pay more than I can get it for plus consideration for time and transaction costs.
    Bitcoin happens to be one of those things for me. I mine bitcoin, but I don't hold onto it hoping it will make me rich, and I don't care if it ever takes off as a currency. I just get a nice paycheck when I cash them in to someone else.
    I used to be a futures trader. I had no interest in a railcar full of cattle, or a boxcar full of corn, yet at any given time I might have held contracts for dozens or hundreds of both. Their was no intent to do anything with the underlying commodities, just a desire to hopefully sell the contract for more than I bought it for.
    And if we want to completely remove the physical tie, I also used to trade in foreign currencies. We didn't care what any particular currency could buy, just whether we expected it to go up or down relative to another currency. Holding Yen was the same as holding Bitcoin. I can't pay my mortgage with Yen, or my utilities, without exchanging it to U.S. Dollars.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak