Bitcoin is not anonymous. Anyone who has followed the dark web or the continuing regulation of the cryptocurrency should be familiar with that idea. If someone manages to link a real identity to a wallet—something that we’ve seen is possible—they can then follow other transactions around the public blockchain to see where else that person’s money has traveled.
Now, researchers are releasing an open-source tool for grouping bitcoin transactions together in order to identify which belong the same entity, marketplace, or person. It doesn’t necessarily reveal the identity of the bitcoin user, but it can show details about someone’s bitcoin spending.
“Our goal is not to help either the offenders or law enforcement”
“Our goal was to see, how much data can you gather on people who are using the bitcoin network, and can you aggregate the bitcoin wallets which seem to be anonymous and isolated from one another?” David Décary-Hétu, an assistant professor at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, told Motherboard in an interview. Along with Mathieu Lavoie, a researcher and penetration tester at a large financial institution, the pair will be presenting their work at the upcoming HOPE hacking