Can Bitcoin Be Traced?
Can Bitcoin be traced? The short answer to this question is yes even Bitcoin can be traced.
Even though Bitcoin often gets used in the movies as a quick and easy way for the bad guys to route all of their money and become entirely untraceable this is not actually true in real life. In a blockchain, there is no way to guarantee complete privacy.
When you want to make transactions using bitcoin you are going to need a wallet first. All a wallet really is after all, is an address that is made up of a string of letters and numbers. You will then be able to send and receive money through this wallet.
You can keep your anonymity as long as nobody connects your wallet address to your actual identity.
The problem is that as soon as you give your address to someone you are giving them access to all of your transaction history as well. This is why it is called pseudo-anonymity.
This is something that has to happen in order to make this cryptocurrency work. And all users that are on the blockchain are going to have access to the balance as well as the transactions of that address.
Ways Bitcoin can be traced
Law enforcement agencies have been able to track cryptocurrency for some time with the use of special software. This software analyzes the blockchain and makes connections between the transactions and criminals’ actual identities.
This isn’t really big news as there have been a lot of high profile busts associated with this practice all over the dark web.
There are even a few companies that have been tracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The two big ones are Chainalysis and CipherTrace. They specialize in being able to track down these currencies in order to help law enforcement with their goal of shutting down criminal operations.
It’s not actually that hard to look up the transactions on a blockchain for a regular person either though. All you have to do is go to blockchain.com and type in the Bitcoin address in their search bar and you can learn a lot of stuff about it.
If you know anything about the person, such as maybe what they bought, there are only a few more steps involved with actually making the connection to their real identity.
Can You Make Bitcoin More Private?
While you can’t completely eliminate all possibility of your Bitcoin transactions being traced there are a few things you can do in order to make it harder for someone to pin down who you are.
One thing you can do is use a tactic called Bitcoin Mixing. This process attempts to blur the connection between you and your bitcoin by trading Bitcoin with another address or by creating new, and temporary, addresses to pass the Bitcoin through. This makes it harder to follow the blockchain back to your actual identity.
Another way to increase your privacy level with Bitcoin is to use a VPN and the Tor browser. Both of these systems work to hide your actual IP address when you are browsing the web. VPNs route your IP address through their system to a different place in the world so it looks like you are coming from somewhere you are not. Be sure to use one that does not log your activity though as that does counter the privacy a lot.
Tor is similar except it uses nodes that are held by various different users all over the world. Your connection will go through a few different places before it gets to its intended destination.
You can also use cash to get into Bitcoin. There are services out there that offer this and it provides an extra layer of privacy because you won’t have to use AML/KYC, things that law enforcement uses to link your real name to your BItcoin address.
Something that is really easy for you to do is use a new address every time you use Bitcoin. This means that all your transaction history won’t be tied all in one address. This can make it a lot harder for someone to actually figure out it’s you if there is only one transaction in your address every time you do it.
No Bitcoin is not entirely anonymous and can be traced just like many other forms of currency. It can be tracked by law enforcement or anyone that really has enough of a cause and expertise to get it done.
There are ways that you can help you make your transactions more private and you should practice them if that is something you are concerned about.