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Can Bitcoin Transactions Be Tracked?

Bitcoin remains to be the most popular cryptocurrency. It started in early 2009 and quickly took the world by storm. Initially, many doubted the blockchain technology that is the lifeblood of cryptocurrency. Even those in the know did not fully assess its growth potential.

Publicized to be secure and anonymous, Bitcoin gained popularity when news spread that the black markets on the dark web used it to trade illegal goods and services. The authorities finally arrested the individual who started the Silk Road black market. Six bitcoin exchange hacking cases have also been reported since 2011.

These incidents point to the traceability of bitcoins. What’s the real score? Can bitcoin transactions be tracked? Some developments in the cryptocurrency landscape allow bitcoin transaction tracking, while some secure information from Bitcoin transactions. This article delves into trends and technology that may help or prevent bitcoin traceability.

How are Bitcoin Transactions Tracked?

The most common answer to this is through the logs that contain your personal information when you buy cryptocurrency. But let’s look at how the analytical technologies and the day-to-day financial transactions track Bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoin Analysis

Although Bitcoin was intended to be anonymous, there is a way for third parties to trace the origin of transactions successfully. The more accurate word to describe Bitcoin in terms of security is "pseudonymous." Users can only mask their identity by creating a new address when transacting through the technology. The address may be new and can't be traced back to one person, but others can view the transaction in the blockchain once the miners have validated all the processes.

Cryptanalysis is one way for third parties to trace the transaction and eventually find out the person behind the multiple addresses. To put it simply, they can cross-reference some information about the transactions within the Bitcoin blockchain system and find similarities in them until the person is found out. Since every cryptocurrency blockchain is public, they are easy to view for the public, and there won't be any additional processes to be done before one can access them.

KYC Implementations On Banks

Financial institutions are required by authorities to have a Know-Your-Customer process where they have to maintain a clear identification system with their customers. This is to prevent fraudulent activities and trace suspicions that are finance-related.

If you have been using Bitcoin to buy goods from merchants who accept Bitcoin as payment, it becomes more difficult for authorities to trace. However, it's still possible to trace the payment origin. On the other hand, if you frequently withdraw money from your crypto exchange account, you'll inevitably have to convert those digital assets to fiat currency like USD.

This is where the KYC comes into the picture. Suppose a third party traces your digital assets to when you convert them into fiat currency. In that case, they can easily view your personal information through the identification you provided to the bank or financial institution.

Therefore, it's still possible for others to track your information.

Chainalysis And The Growing Consumer Access

Chainalysis was developed for tracing Bitcoin transactions.

Over the years, more than 70 national governments and financial institutions have used this cryptocurrency transparency platform to trace money in different countries. It powers financial compliance and allows governments to have authority over the people who regularly use Bitcoin for transactions.

Chainalysis adds to the credibility of cryptocurrency, making its popularity grow further. It helps accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency in the mainstream. As of now, some countries like El Salvador have recently adopted cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Having the ability to transact with full transparency through Chainalysis properly makes it a viable decision.

Risk Management

Like any other investment, cryptocurrency is subject to risks.

Cryptocurrency users must know that a cryptocurrency's popularity and a strong showing in the market do not guarantee a profitable and robust investment.

You can manage risks in multiple ways, such as balancing your portfolio, keeping tabs on the news, and other factors that might affect your investments. However, protecting your privacy and ensuring you're not being tracked is one way to guarantee that your investments don't go to waste. Some people with sufficient resources who are persistent enough can track you even when you're already knowledgeable in the industry and the tricks for protecting your privacy. Observe all the necessary security measures to protect your digital assets.

Is There a Truly Anonymous Cryptocurrency?

Authorities recognize that there are cryptocurrencies designed to be anonymous and secure. However, forensic analysis still exists, and eventually, the cryptocurrency claiming to be anonymous and secure will lose its charm, considering the rapid development of analytical techniques and methods employed by various firms and authorities.

On the one hand, Monero is a fairly new cryptocurrency that gained global popularity because of the security it offers. The platform itself uses a stealth address technology where even the new addresses generated by the users are hard to trace. It also employs RingCT, or Ring Confidential Transaction, which helps users hide the number of cryptocurrencies sent out.

DASH is also one of the few popular cryptocurrencies that have the reputation of being secure. Although it's not as popular as Bitcoin or Ethereum, DASH has been around the industry since 2014. This platform uses a technology similar to coin mixing. When using its private sending feature, the fees slightly increase, but it's still much cheaper than when you perform money transfers via banks. Coin mixing in this platform is always available since it uses master nodes to perform the transfer. Master nodes function similarly to miners, but they are paid fixed fees by contributing their cryptocurrencies to the coin mixing pool.

All in all, some cryptocurrencies have some degree of anonymity, but you should still be careful if you're going to use them in a way that requires utmost privacy and security, especially if you're fairly new to the industry.

Coin Mixing

Now that we know Bitcoin isn't exactly anonymous, you can still do something to ensure no one can access the Bitcoins you send and receive. One example is coin mixing. It is an innovation in Bitcoin that allows users to pool their Bitcoins to act as one unit within a transaction and then get broken down to different values before getting them back to the rightful recipients.

This means people can use coin mixing to hide their identity and the amount of Bitcoin they send. Coin mixing achieves two things: first, third parties cannot trace which participant in the coin mixing sent out what amount of Bitcoin since they are joined into one big transaction. Second, third parties can’t analyze the information within the transaction, especially when there are too many participants. The more participants there are in coin mixing, the more secure it becomes.

Coin mixing is a complex process. Suppose you’d like to benefit from this technology. In that case, you’d do well to look for a cryptocurrency service that effectively applies coin mixing technology Unijoin is one such service, taking pride in its CoinJoin technology.

Conclusion

Overall, Bitcoin is not anonymous, and the public can view information about each transaction done within the platform via the blockchain. Instead, Bitcoin is pseudonymous. When doing transactions, people can have different addresses to protect themselves by not using the same address every time they do a transaction, like paying for goods and services.

Recently, there have been innovations in cryptocurrency. Among the innovations in cryptocurrency technology are coin mixing and stealth addresses, developed to provide anonymity by evading prying eyes.

Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, so it makes sense that it is also one of the most analyzed cryptocurrencies. Various firms and authorities find it easy to analyze the platform and trace anyone deemed suspicious.

There are also cryptocurrencies built to be anonymous, and each employs different strategies to protect the privacy of its users. Many people already use these platforms, ensuring that their investments are not wasted by avoiding potential threats.

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