Bitcoin mixers, also known as tumblers, laundries, or coin laundries, are services that allow users to erase the history of their previous transactions by using coins.
The advantage of cryptocurrencies lies in their anonymity and decentralized nature, completely independent of any government. However, is this entirely true? It turns out that it is still possible to identify the sender of money transfers. This is because all data is recorded in the public blockchain system. Therefore, the bitcoin mixer was invented to permanently hide from the network.
Bitcoin mixers: what are they?
Exploring the Link Between Bitcoin Mixing and Cybersecurity
A Bitcoin Mixer is a specialized service that completely anonymizes Bitcoin holders in the blockchain network. It erases all possible paths that can lead to the participants of a transaction, making it difficult to trace the transfer of funds from one wallet to another.
How does a Bitcoin mixer work?
To understand how a Bitcoin mixer works, let’s use an offline analogy of a regular kitchen appliance. When User A sends a transaction to User B, the service begins “grinding” the details of the transfer and breaks down the entire amount into smaller transactions. These divided coins are then repeatedly mixed. Only after these operations are completed, the full amount is paid to User B.
This makes it impossible to track where the entire sum of the transaction went and to whom it was transferred.
The Connection Between Bitcoin Mixers and Darknet Markets
Currently, there are two types of Bitcoin mixers in existence, differing in their operating principles. They are classified as either:
1. Centralized: These Bitcoin mixers belong to the first generation of this technology and are considered less anonymous. Users of such services send Bitcoins to a specific address and pay a fee. The Bitcoins are then sent to the recipient’s address. As a result, the original sender’s identity remains anonymous, but only to the recipient. It is relatively easy to reconstruct the entire chain of money transfers using modern tools.
Such a system was considered reliable only if it involved many other users and more money. However, it has been surpassed by the second generation of Bitcoin mixers.
2. Peer-to-peer (P2P): This type of service does not involve intermediaries or fees. It operates solely through protocols (e.g., CoinSwap, SharedCoin, CoinJoin) and other users of the service.
These protocols help connect multiple users, creating a large transaction. None of the participants in this transaction know each other’s addresses or names. They are randomly selected by the system. The interaction only involves cryptocurrencies themselves. They are mixed by the service and then sent to the recipient.
Most Bitcoin mixers operate based on this second scenario.
How to choose a good Bitcoin mixer
The best Bitcoin mixers are those that meet at least the following criteria:
– Automation: No curator, operator, or manager should interfere with the mixing or participant gathering process. It should be purely mechanical algorithm executed without human intervention.
– Randomization as the essence of operation: Everything should be random rather than systematic. Transactions should occur at random times, in random order, and involve random users. There should be no unfinished transactions.
– Agitators should not be visible in an analytical tool: If a Bitcoin mixer includes advertisements, live chat, or user statistics, it is clearly not anonymous, as all these tools rely on external services that collect cookies. These cookies may contain traceable user information.