How to Keep Transactions Private and Anonymous without Using Bitcoin Mixers
The world of cryptocurrency is synonymous with privacy and anonymity. However, in the past few years this privacy has been interfered with as the authorities track the purchases made on Darknet Markets (DNM).
Such arrests made on DNM purchases are rarely talked about after the reporting stage. Media houses and the cryptocurrency communities do not follow up on the authorities’ reports and the court proceedings which surprisingly contains a lot of information on how the arrest was conducted.
Bitcoin.com released an operational security (opsec) guide from one of the cases – Wall Street Market (WSM) – on how to keep your transactions private and anonymous.
The opsec guide on cryptocurrency transaction privacy
The field of cryptocurrency has been privacy plagued by constant calls of “purchasing cocaine”, ‘hiring assassins”, “arming terrorists” etc. This is more prevalent in blockchains with higher anonymity and privacy standards.
However, this false narrative does not take into consideration that some of the cryptocurrency users just want anonymous transactions for their own liking without the need to purchase contrabands or fund illegal activities.
These are the opsec lessons that any libertarian who wishes to have a private life should follow to make anonymous and private transactions on the blockchain. The WSM case titled the United States of America v. Tibo Lousee, Klaus-Martin Frost, and Jonathan Kalla provides a clear “how” authorities are able to trace the ‘anonymous’ transactions.
1. Don’t place full trust on the Bitcoin mixers
According to the report on the WSM case, the U.S Postal Inspection service was able to track the funds sent from the WSM. The report reads,
“Funds from Wallet 2 were first transferred to Wallet 1, and then “mixed” by a commercial service … through thorough analysis, the United States Postal Inspection Service was able to “de-mix” the flow of transactions.”
Centralized bitcoin and crypto transactions mixers are not 100% secure given that they store data on centralized systems.
This makes it easier for anyone to gain access to the transactions made even if mixed in a pool. Instead, those wishing to keep the transactions private should focus on using decentralized bitcoin mixers such as Coinjoin for BTC, or Cashshuffle for BCH.
2. Check you VPN configuration
Another red flag that alerted the authorities into the arrest of the WSM perpetrators is two VPN service providers. The German police were able to figure out the IP address from the VPN, as they were not configured properly.
“Based on the German Police (BKA) analysis of the WSM server infrastructure, the BKA noticed that on occasion, VPN Provider #1 connection would cease, but because that specific administrator continued to access the WSM infrastructure, that administrator’s access exposed the true IP address of the administrator.”
3. Keep different identities in your transactions
One of the three culprits in the WSM case used the same PGP public key on the WSM as he has been using on the Hansa Market. This reuse of names led the authorities to marking this particular account and tracking the wallet transactions with similar names.
The presence of the same name/identifier on different platforms is a suspicious lead for authorities especially on Darknet Markets.