Network-assessment

Let’s face it, finding online anonymity these days is hard—really, it’s impossible. And finding someone you can trust? Even harder. In this new era, where the threat of an imminent attack is always present, it has become increasingly important to protect your most valuable assets—namely, money and information. This is particularly true in the world of cryptocurrencies, where security is mostly virtual and located far outside the tangible realm of lock and key. Instead, it is protected through reams of indecipherable code and hidden behind the strength of passwords and usernames. While this may keep your cryptos protected from theft, for the most part, it does nothing to ensure their privacy. Yes, cryptos like Monero, Ether, and Bitcoin may offer the illusion of anonymity, but they are, in fact, still subject to the same outside monitoring as fiat currency. They can be tracked, traced, and monitored just like the dollar, the euro, the yen. However, cryptos remain far more flexible than traditional money and can be easily and effectively obscured through the simple process of coin mixing.

Before we go any further, let’s be perfectly clear—mixing your Bitcoin is legal and highly recommended by the crypto community as a failsafe way to find anonymity and protection. And if you live in a country where Bitcoin transactions are discouraged, you have even more reason to mix your coins and keep your history private. Unlike gold or stocks, you can store a significant amount of Bitcoin while still concealing all ownership and control, so regardless of what many people believe, cryptos are not “dark money” or associated purely with nefarious activity. They offer an excellent and highly-reliable way to make purchases, donations, and payments, all without using any sort of centralized financial process or institution.

Of course, there will always be people in the world who worry about the anonymity of Bitcoin because they want to fly under the radar of law enforcement, but there are plenty of others whose concerns revolve around the inherent right to privacy and protection. You don’t have to be a criminal to appreciate the need to protect your Bitcoin bank account, especially in this day and age. This is where the service of coin mixing comes in, as it is well suited for anyone, regardless of intention, who is looking to move and spend their cryptos with complete confidence. Like most people, you probably don’t share the details of your bank account online, so why subject your virtual wallet to such outside scrutiny?

To better understand the overall process, let’s look more closely at the curious nature of blockchain technology. This digital leger is what holds and protects Bitcoin and records all of its transactions, chronologically and publicly. Yes, publicly. That means anybody in the world—hackers, government agencies, financial institutions, cops, the average joe—can all snoop around in the movement of your Bitcoin, while at the same time creating an immutable record of the coin’s ownership—that’s you. That means, without much effort at all, sensitive information about the origin, storage, and spending of your Bitcoin is vulnerable to prying eyes.

If your Bitcoin was received through a clean channel, it can theoretically remain anonymous while sitting in a static wallet, but its exposure is unavoidable once it tries to leave the safety of blockchain. And in most cases, the mere set up of a Bitcoin wallet has already compromised its privacy through the use of personal bank accounts or IP addresses. Of course, a virtual private network would help with the IP issues, but certainly, nothing can cover up the financial transaction. Just like fiat money, Bitcoin has to be accessed before it can be spent, and this is where the exploit lies. Anytime something is on the move, whether it be a rabbit running across an open field, your data traveling across an open network, or Bitcoin transferring from blockchain to you Bitpay card, a vulnerability is created, a security gap opened up. And this is where a predator can find success in gathering information—or the perfect rabbit for his next meal.  Many people will tell you blockchain is transparent, while the wallet itself is anonymous, and they would be right—that is, until you try to move your digital currency. In this way, Bitcoin offers the pseudonymity of being partially hidden until it wants to do something.

Every time a new Bitcoin is generated through the mining process, a record of its existence is created. During the mixing process, also known as tumbling, your coin is essentially deposited into one “pot,” broken down into smaller pieces, combined with the coin of other users, and reissued to you as clean, untraceable currency, thereby breaking the chain between your identity and your transactions. With no identifiable links and zero similarities to your original coin, establishing what’s known as “zero taint,” a Bitcoin blender allows you to make purchases and offer payments without exposing your balance or identity to entities who might be monitoring your financial activity. For anyone even considering a purchase on the darknet, this step is critical. And for others who are just savvy to the inherent dangers of unprotected information, coin mixing offers a sensible measure of security within a decidedly risky landscape.

But even more importantly, mixing your coin comes down to a matter of trust—arguably one of the most precious assets on the internet. For anyone who has toyed with the idea of spending their Bitcoin online, this is an ongoing issue and one that is not readily resolved. Finding someone to trust is the hardest part of the whole process. So while mixing your coin may theoretically sound like a super idea, how do you know the service you’re using is reliable and safe? The short answer is, you don’t.

 

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